The Israeli Mossad is the primary intelligence agency of Israel. It works with other Israeli intelligence agencies like Shabak (Internal Security) and AMAN (Military Intelligence) to safeguard the countrys security.
Mossad is short for Ha-Mōśād le-Mōdī`īn ū-le-Tafqīdīm Meyūhadīm and its English translation is The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations. Although Mossad is the most famous of the Israeli intelligence agency, its functions and operations are limited compared to AMAN.
Mossad is concerned with overseas espionage activities related to the security of Israel. Functionally, Mossad is similar to the British intelligence agency MI6 or the American CIA. Its primary objectives are to collect and analyze all intelligence information related to Israels security, perform covert operations, conduct counter intelligence and counter terrorism activities. It is also responsible for covert paramilitary operations.
The agency consists of eight departments, each with different responsibilities. The first department is responsible for operations planning and coordination. The second department is the collection department. This is the largest department which conducts espionage activities. The third is the political action and liaison department. This department is responsible for political activities and cooperation with friendly countries.
It also deals with nations that have no diplomatic relations with Israel. Metsada is a Special Operations Division which is responsible for sabotage, paramilitary operations and assassination. The research department synthesizes intelligence. Lohamah Psichlogit (LAP) is responsible for propaganda and psychological warfare. Technological requirements of the agency are fulfilled by the technical department.
The exact number of staff at Mossad is not known. A report published by CIA in 1973 puts the number of officers working for the agency at 500, with another 1000 to 1500 hundred support staff. Mossad is primarily a civilian organization and its officers do not get military ranks. However, most members of the agency are ex Israel Defense Forces. Mossad is directly under the control of Israeli Prime Minister.