Monday, February 25, 2013

An Israeli Story of Escaping Out of Iran Equal to Argo's Story

Nadene Goldfoot
Watching Hollywood's Oscars last night was IDF Brig. General  Itzhak Segev, now retired.  He happened to be Israel's last military attache in Tehran, so Argo was a reminder to him of his own experience while in Iran.

Way back when Khomeini returned to Tehran on February 1, 1979, 6 Israeli diplomats and other businessmen were still in Iran.  Seeing 5 million people line the streets to greet him back after his 14 years of exile to Turkey and then France, Israel's Ambassador Joseph Hermelin knew that they all had to get out of the country quickly with this change of politics.  Tony Mendez's story actually happened 9 months afterwards in November 1979.

What happened was an angry mob immediately took over the Israeli Embassy and Segev had to find an escape route for 33 Israelis who were in several different places.  It wasn't an easy job, as Argo's story wasn't, either.

Evidently the rule to be learned here is that Iran is not a safe country to be caught in with Khomeini at the helm.  In fact, Ambassadors and their personnel can die in them if you're in a dangerous country as our people in Libya did.    CIA's Tony Mendez,  and Segev were outstanding to be able to save their people. They  should have a get-together and share their experiences that were harrowing for both of them.  Maybe they can come up with some rules and regulations for the USA to follow to be better protected.

I was most happy that Argo won the Oscar for best picture.  I was biting my nails and sitting on the edge of my seat and I was home watching it.  Whew!

 Israel's ambassador, Joseph Hermelin b: 1922 in Austria, " was next assigned to South Africa.  He had escaped Austria after the Nazi takeover and joined the Jewish Brigade which fought with the Allies during the war. Later. he served as a Captain in Israel's army in the War for independence in 1948.   His wife, Sarah also served in the army and was the first woman to rise to the rank of Major.In preparation for his duties in South Africa, Hermelin studied Afrikaans, one of the two official languages of the country. His predecessor's fluency in that language gained him great popularity with South Africans."

The Master of Disguise: My Secret Life in the CIA by Antonio J. Mendez (Nov 7, 2000)

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