Creating new perspectives since 2009

Jordan King Hussein’s extensive contact, intelligence sharing with Israel prior to 1973 war

September 12, 2023 at 6:37 pm

Jordanian flag [Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency]

Newly released documents from Israel’s State Archives have further revealed the extent of the relations and contact Jordan’s deceased King Hussein shared with the Israeli government, with his role in some intelligence leaks to the occupation state being confirmed.

The 3,500 files containing hundreds of thousands of pages and newly uncensored information released by the Israeli State Archives last week, shortly ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – otherwise known as the October or Ramadan War – of 1973 between Israel and surrounding Arab states, includes the diary of Eli Mizrahi, the head of the Prime Minister’s Bureau at the time.

Despite there being no groundbreaking discoveries or significant revelations from the documents that were already previously known, Mizrahi’s diary did reportedly contain sensitive information regarding King Hussein, Jordan’s monarch at the time, and his contact with Israeli authorities and intelligence.

One such narration refers to the meeting between Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, and King Hussein at a Mossad facility outside the capital, Tel Aviv, on 25 September, 1973, only a few days before the outbreak of the war. That meeting was reportedly at the urgent request of Hussein for the purpose of revealing intelligence to Israel regarding Syria’s plans to launch another war in order to take back the occupied Golan Heights.

Mizrahi referred to the Jordanian King with the codename “Lift” and with the pronoun “her” in an effort to conceal his identity in documents. In his diary, he recounted on 25 September that “Lift told us during the conversation that he had been informed by a most sensitive source that all the preparations and planning for the Syrian operation had been completed and the units had already been in position for two days – including the air force and missiles”.

Jordan: ex-prime minister calls for end to ‘soft diplomacy’ with Israel

He clarified that those preparations had been “masked as training exercises but, according to information received previously, it is clear that these are preparations for launch positions. The source said that she was aware of the significance of the above, but that these were the facts”. When Meir asked Hussein if the Syrians would attack without full cooperation from the Egyptian military, “the Arab source replied that she did not believe so. They would cooperate.”

That was reportedly the third warning the Jordanians had provided to the Israelis within three months ahead of the war, but the latter had dismissed them as having insufficient information and no new intelligence.

King Hussein also had “Yanuka” as another codename, meaning “child” in reference to his appointment to the throne before the age of 17. One of those instances is seen in a telegram which the director general of the Israeli prime minister’s office, Mordechai Gazit, sent in June 1973 to Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Simcha Dinitz.

Titled “More concerning Yanuka”, that telegram noted how Hussein was concerned that Arab armies may enter Jordanian territory in the event of a war, which reportedly provides further proof the King having expressed his frustration to Israeli Prime Minister, Meir, about the pressures on him by other Arab states to join a war against the Zionist state.

According to the Israeli news outlet, Haaretz, the identity of King Hussein as “Lift” was finally detected and confirmed with the release of these latest documents and Mizrahi’s diary in full, as the codename was previously redacted and censored.

Despite this release, Israel’s State Archives continue to redact many sections in documents due to national security, privacy or foreign relations concerns, and will only reveal them in full in another 40 years, when Tel Aviv marks the 90th anniversary of the 1973 war.

Poll: 85% of Jordanians refuse cooperation with Israel