The other Teddy Kollek: Cloak and dagger artist – debkafile Exclusive

Teddy Kollek, who died aged 95 Tuesday, Jan.2, 2007, spent the last third of his life in passionate devotion to building, beautifying and unifying Jerusalem for the benefit of its diverse citizens – Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, agnostics and ultra-religious. A dynamo in action, he had not thought of resting on the many laurels of his pre-Jerusalem achievements, one of which was to build the first, permanent strategic-intelligence bonds between Jerusalem Washington.
The template was formed in 1943, when Kollek arrived in Italy on a Jewish Agency rescue mission with the British army’s Jewish Brigade and met the local US (pre-CIA) OSS resident, James J. Angleton. He proposed Jewish Agency officials be allowed to advance with US forces into Nazi-occupied Europe, help rescue survivors from the death camps and send them through Italian ports to Palestine. The Americans were to turn a blind eye to the Jewish Brigade’s role in the clandestine operation. In return, the Jewish Agency’s secret agents would pass to the US data on Soviet spy rings operating in Europe and the Middle East.
After the war, Teddy Kollek returned to Jerusalem where Jewish Agency chairman, David Ben Gurion (later Israel’s first prime minister) ordered him, Reuven Shiloah and Ehud Avriel to develop the relationship between the USA and the 650,000-strong Jewish community of Palestine. This was 1946, when Israel was still two years away from independence. However, by turning the Jewish communities trapped in communist Eastern Europe into sources beaming insider intelligence to Washington via Tel Aviv, worked like clockwork throughout the Cold War. It was in fact Kollek’s personal tip to Angleton that led to the exposure of the notorious British Oxford Ring of British Soviet spies, Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and George Blake.
Very little is known of the late mayor’s cloak and dagger career because he chose to keep it dark.
However, on one of the rare occasions when he offered a glimpse of his past, Kollek invited Giora Shamis, currently chief editor of debkafile, to join him and a visitor, an old undercover buddy, Anthony Cavendish of MI6, in May 20, 1998 at the King David Hotel, Jerusalem. Both were long retired by then.
This is how Shamis recorded Teddy Kollek’s anecdote:
“In 1949, I came to London. I arranged an appointment with Maurice Oldfield, then one of the heads of MI6 and later its head. We got together in the afternoon and went on talking for hours. In the end, Oldfield asked me to join him for dinner at a London restaurant. The other dinner guests were two very brilliant young men, whom I know you want to hear about.”
Kollek, who has a storyteller’s feel for drama, paused before his next revelation to watch my reaction. “Waiting there at the table reserved for us were Donald Maclean and Guy Burgess. We talked and talked about the situation in the world, the Middle East and the United States. After the meal, Oldfield suggested we pay a visit to a friend of his who lived nearby in Mayfair, the poet T.S. Eliot, and listen to him read his latest poems. We spent the whole nights there and all that time we listened to Eliot reciting from his work. Sometimes, Maclean or Burgess would recite along with him from passages they knew by heart. We all downed vast quantities of scotch and cognac. It was the strangest night, I can tell you. Two things surprised me at the time – that Oldfield let me come so close to the two agents, and their senior status in the British secret service.”
Kollek went straight off to Washington to report to James Angleton, the CIA counterintelligence chief.
The CIA man did not entirely leave the stalking of his targets through their social lives to others. When in London, he rarely missed calling on the celebrated poet, T.S. Eliot, himself. Although a genuine poetry lover, Angleton availed himself of everything to hand to close in on his targets.

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