May 21, 2017
She was born in Buenos Aires and raised between the Argentinian capital and Jerusalem. At 16, she wed an older Lebanese Jew, businessman Joseph Kishik, in a marriage arranged by her parents and moved to Beirut.
With her husband’s connections, Cohen-Kishik became close with important Lebanese figures. From 1948 to 1961, she used those relationships to obtain valuable intelligence for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. She developed a spy network to gather information. Most of her information related to Lebanon, but some came from other countries, especially Syria. Code-named “The Pearl,” she smuggled not only intelligence, but also endangered Jews to Israel from Arab states. She sent her own children to grow up in Israel.
She was arrested for smuggling in 1952 and spent 36 days in jail. In 1961 she was arrested for espionage, tortured, convicted and sentenced to death, but because she was a mother of seven, her sentence was reduced to 20 years of hard labor in prison. She was released in a prisoner exchange after the Six-Day War in June 1967 and lived the rest of her life in Israel.
Cohen-Kishik was awarded the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Medal of Valor at a ceremony in Los Angeles in 2001 and lighted a torch at Israel’s official Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) celebration in 2007. She published a book about her experiences, “Shulamit’s Song: The Story of the Zionist Spy,” in 2000.