COVER

The ‘Vengeance’ Affair

Robert Miller May 7 1984
COVER

The ‘Vengeance’ Affair

Robert Miller May 7 1984

The ‘Vengeance’ Affair

COVER

Robert Miller

The book’s origins are bizarre. Even the author does not know the exact role that his principal source played. And the source, the mysterious figure known only as “Avner,” admits that no one can verify the book’s central claims. But its contents are compelling, and the issue it addresses—terrorism— is of mounting global concern. As a result, Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team, by Toronto author-radio producer George Jonas, is potentially an international best seller and certainly the Canadian publishing event of the year. The book will be published in Canada and 19 other countries on May 10. It has generated $500,000 in advance foreign sales, including $125,000 (U.S.) from New York publisher Simon &

Schuster and $100,000 from William Collins Sons of London. It has also provoked worldwide debate in intelligence and publishing communities, as well as skepticism and denials in Israel.

Vengeance purports to tell the story of a fiveman assassination team that Mossad, the Israeli secret service, sent to Europe in 1972 on a deadly mission sanctioned by then-Prime Minister Golda Meir.

The team’s assignment: to track down and execute 11 Arabs associated with Palestinian terrorism. Its motivation: revenge for the Sept. 5, 1972, massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Its outcome: the outright assassination of five of the assigned targets, the indirect elimination of three others and the deaths of four persons not on the assigned list in the course of the team’s 2^2-year mission. Its cost: $11 million and the lives of three team members.

Although Israel has never confirmed playing any part in them, the five direct assassinations that the book attributes to the team have long been a matter of public record and have been described

in several previous books, including The Hit Team (1976), by David Tinnin with Dag Christensen, The Israeli Secret Service (1977), by Richard Deacon, and The Spymasters of Israel (1980), by Stewart Steven. But Vengeance—a joint project by two Toronto-based publishing companies, Lester & Orpen Dennys and Collins Canada Ltd.—claims to break new ground. It has attracted wide interest and extraordinary advance sales chiefly because its principal source, whom Jonas nicknamed “Avner,” says that he was the leader of the Israeli assassination team and the first ex-Mossad agent to break silence in defiance of his former bosses. The publishers, the author

and Avner all agree: by telling his story Avner has put his life in jeopardy, if only because terrorists and security agents alike operate on the principle of final solutions. Said Jonas: “I think that the whole thing the man is doing is most unwise, in terms of the security of himself and his family—whether he is telling the truth or if he is making himself out to be something more than he is.”

In addition to the book’s sensational contents and dramatic style, its fortuitous timing has helped the publishers sell it abroad. Vengeance’s appearance coincides with an international upsurge in terrorism and a debate among opinion leaders in democratic nations

about how free societies ought to defend themselves.

As told by Jonas, the story of Avner and the assassination team is a gripping and detailed behind-the-scenes account of the vicious struggle between Israel and its enemies, particularly terrorists supporting the cause of Palestinian liberation. Vengeance is the result of an extraordinary collaboration between the author and Avner which began shortly after Avner offered to sell his story to Toronto publisher Malcolm Lester in August, 1981. But, despite its glittering financial possibilities—Lester says he hopes to net “at least $100,000” as his firm’s share of the

book’s eventual proceeds—publishing the book has plunged the principals into thickets of legal and ethical difficulties. It represents an enormous gamble by the publishers and Jonas, as well as Avner, because it asks the reader to accept much of its detail and most of its dialogue on faith alone.

The crucial question, and the one on which the book will stand or fall, is whether Avner is telling the truth about his background and his activities. Jonas, Lester, editor Louise Dennys and Collins Canada president Nicholas Harris all say that they are fully satisfied that the Avner saga is genuine. But they all concede that they do not have conclusive proof, and Avner himself told

Maclean's: “No one will ever be able to verify my story 100 per cent. It is impossible. The publishers will be mad, but I say, ‘If you don’t believe me, don’t buy the book.’ ”

That is a decision that some newspaper and magazine editors and publishers have already reached. Vengeance’s publishers offered serial rights to the West German newsmagazine Der Spiegel and The New York Times’ Sunday magazine. Both declined. In Canada, Maclean’s paid $3,500 for the riglic to carry as many as 5,000 words of the text but decided not to publish excerpts because the magazine’s mandatory verification requirements could not be satisfied. But London’s The Mail on Sunday, which is edited by Spymasters’ author, Steven, paid $67,000 for the right to carry lengthy excerpts. The first of a scheduled three appeared this week. Said Steven: “No one book which has ever been put together about espionage is going to be 100-per-cent true. I take the view with all these books that you have to take an impressionistic view, but this book is an accurate portrayal in those parts of it which relate to my own researches. I cannot fault him on anything which has to do with my own information.”

Remarkable: Jonas says he spent nearly two years and more than $30,000 of the publishers’ money researching the book and checking Avner’s story. Both Jonas and his chief source say they travelled separately or together through much of Europe and Israel in 1982 and 1983. During that time Jonas says that he moved from initial skepticism through partial credence to his current unshakable belief in the overall veracity of Avner’s claims. But the author concedes in a foreword to the book that he has deliberately altered details about the lives and backgrounds of the members of the team in an attempt to safeguard Avner and his family. Jonas, a 48-year-old, Hungarian-born Jew, further conceded in interviews with Maclean’s that he has withheld significant details in order not to undermine the security of Israel itself. Still, the publishers insist that the title’s incorporation of the word “true” is both fair and accurate.

The Canadian publishers have printed an initial 15,000 hardcover copies (price: $22.95) and had received orders for 10,000 two weeks before the book was to go on sale. Michael Korda, editor in chief of Simon & Schuster, said his first press run was 40,000 copies (U.S. price: $17.95). And Roger Schlesinger, editorial director of William Collins in London, said that his firm had received orders for 16,000 of the 20,000 copies it had printed and plans to order a second printing. Among other countries in which publishers will

issue Vengeance: France, West Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, Australia and nine Spanishspeaking nations in Central and South America. Negotiations also are in progress with publishers in Spain, Mexico, the Netherlands, Brazil and Japan. At the same time, the Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency is shopping for a movie deal on the publishers’ behalf. Said Harris: “The interest and sales are remarkable, particularly in this economy. I have never heard of a Canadian book remotely near these figures.” Among the most vivid scenes and remarkable claims in Vengeance:

•A September, 1972, meeting in Golda Meir’s Jerusalem living-room at which she offered refreshments and even sliced up an apple while she ruminated on the long, sad history of the Jewish people and declared that, in the wake of the Munich massacre, she had made a decision that it was “up to the Jews to defend themselves.” Meir (who died in 1978) then left Avner, then-Maj.-Gen. Ariel Sharon and former Mossad chief Zwicka Zamir to discuss the mission Avner would undertake. (Last week in Israel, Sharon categorically denied participating in such a meeting and told Maclean's, through his sometime spokesman, Uri Dan: “It never took place.” Zamir also issued a denial.) But the book maintains that, after Meir rejoined the meeting, she saw Avner to the door where she shook hands and declared: “Remember this day. What we are doing is changing Jewish history. Remember, because you are part of it.” •The first meeting of the assassination

team, in a Tel Aviv apartment, and its intial briefing by a senior Mossad officer identified only as “Ephraim.” Besides Avner, the team consisted of “Carl,” the second-in-command; “Robert,” a munitions specialist who purportedly had once been a toy manufacturer in the English Midlands; “Hans,” a documents expert and antique furniture enthusiast; and “Steve,” the transport officer, originally from South Africa. Ephraim’s instructions: having resigned officially from Mossad, the team members would travel to Europe with a target list of 11 men, whom they would kill as spectacularly as possible, provided no innocent party was hurt (“If you get them all and hurt one innocent

person,” the book quotes Ephraim as saying, “you will have done wrong”). •The “hit list” itself. Marked for death were Ali Hassan Salameh, generally regarded as the main architect of the Munich massacre; Abu Daoud, an explosives expert with the Black September terrorist group which claimed credit for the Munich slayings; Mahmoud Hamshari, a spokesman for the Palestinian cause; Wael Zwaiter, a poet and Palestinian who at the time was not generally regarded as a terrorist leader but was a cousin of Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat; law professor Basil al-Kubaisi, an arms purchaser for George Habash’s Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine; Kamal Nasser, public relations head for Arafat’s AÍ Fatah; Kemal Adwan, chief saboteur for AÍ Fatah in Israeli-occupied territory; Mahmoud Yussuf Najjer, head of liaison between AÍ Fatah and Black September; Mohammed Boudia, an Algerian who was best known in Paris as a ladies’ man but who had terrorist links; Hussein Abad al-Chir, one of the PLO’s chief links with Soviet intelligence, the Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti (KGB); and Wadi Haddad, widely regarded as a terrorist mastermind and a close friend of Habash’s. •Graphic and detailed accounts, told from an eyewitness’s point of view, of the team’s stalking and killing of Zwaiter (by pistol, in the foyer of a Rome apartment building); Hamshari (by a bomb concealed in the telephone of his Paris apartment); al-Chir (by a pressure bomb concealed in the bed of his Nicosia hotel room); al-Kubaisi (by pistol on a Paris street corner); and Boudia (by a pressure bomb placed under the seat of his car on a Paris street).

•The existence of a secret French criminal organization that Jonas calls “Le Group.” The book says the organization, led by an elderly man and managed by several of his sons, maintained a vast network of informants throughout Europe and bought and sold information of special interest to intelligence services. It also provided a full range of facilities and services to the hit team, including weaponry, papers, body disposal and accurate travel plans and addresses for the team’s designated targets. (Avner told Maclean's that Le Group has expanded and is still operating, not just in Europe but around the world.)

•The violent deaths of Carl, shot, apparently by an attractive young Dutch woman who worked as a freelance assassin, in a suite in London’s Europa Hotel; Robert, in an accidental explosion of his own making, in Belgium; Hans, of unknown causes, in a Frankfurt park; and “Jeanette,” the Dutch killer of Carl who was identified and

located by Le Group and shot, in an act of personal vengeance, by the team on her houseboat in Hoorn, a village 30 km from Amsterdam.

•The eventual termination of the mission and Mossad’s attempt to reassign Avner, who states that, by the end of 1975, he had become “completely burned out.” According to Avner, when he refused to perform further missions, Mossad emptied his Swiss bank account of about $100,000 and, when he continued to refuse assignments, the agency decided not to return the money, which represented Avner’s pay for the entire assassination mission.

To investigate Vengeance, Maclean's assigned 15 staffers and correspondents in Israel, Europe, the United States and Canada to check specific details that had not been previously re-

ported. At the same time, the magazine sought comment from both official and unofficial sources familiar with intelligence matters generally and Mossad in particular. The correspondents in the field inevitably met frustration, mainly because of the author’s decision to alter or withhold facts in the name of security. Even when a trail looked especially promising, it often petered out. One example: European Bureau Chief Marci McDonald flew from Paris to Tel Aviv and quickly uncovered the name of a man whose career amazingly paralleled the background that the book ascribes to Avner’s father: a former Mossad agent, arrested on a mission to a foreign

country, divorced and married to a Gentile in the line of duty, Germanspeaking, ultimately released and repatriated, subject of many newspaper and magazine articles and, as Vengeance put it, “even a book.”

McDonald traced German-born Wolfgang Lotz, a deep-cover Mossad agent who earned the nickname “the champagne spy” during his impersonation of a wealthy ex-Nazi in Cairo between 1960 and 1965, to Munich, where he works for a publisher and is writing a novel. Like Avner’s self-proclaimed father in Vengeance, Lotz was arrested (in 1965), had divorced his Israeli wife and married a Gentile (an Austrian-born woman whose first name is Waltraud and who assisted him in his Cairo masquerade), was repatriated (after the Six Day War in 1967), and

was the subject of articles and “even a book.” In fact, there were two—The Spy on Horseback, by journalist Arie Avenri, and The Champagne Spy, by Lotz himself, published in 1972.

Jeopardy: In addition, McDonald reported, Lotz has a son living in the United States (Avner claims to live in North America) where he teaches at a university. But Maclean’s contacted Lotz’s son and established that he is not Avner. Even more frustrating, the U.S. teacher has no brother, although Avner claims to have a younger brother named “Ber.” Finally, Maclean's told Lotz’s son that Vengeance might have put him in personal jeopardy from dangerous

persons who could follow the same trail that Maclean’s did.

When Maclean's asked Jonas to comment on the startling similarity between the father in the book and Lotz, he said that he “did not knowingly take characteristics of any one character, including Lotz, and ascribe them to another character.” Jonas added: “All the alterations I have made were invented alterations. They were not based on anything that I had read anywhere else.” And then he said that he would answer no further questions about the background of Avner or any members of his family.

But Avner was more forthcoming. Within an hour of Jonas’s explanation, Avner said: “You are completely wrong about the identity of that person. It is not Wolfgang Lotz. I want to make sure that neither he nor his family, God forbid, could be hurt.” He added that the “father” character in the book was to be a composite of “five or six people from the old service [Mossad]” and claimed that Jonas’s portayal of his father could resemble any of them. But he conceded: “They are not as famous as Lotz. He was the only one who wrote books. I can see how you made the mistake.”

Whoever made the mistake, the Lotz episode illustrated in stark terms the inherent problems when writers present deliberately altered facts as the truth and do not make the difference in each case clear to their readers. Said Schlesinger of William Collins: « “It is a most unfortunate o coincidence. We have all, obviously, at times questioned the validity of the book. But we have all acted responsibly throughout, I hope.” He added that using reconstructed dialogue, even years after conversations during which no records or notes were made, is “an extremely common way of writing nonfiction today, and it does not bother me at all.” As for changing names and backgrounds of characters, Schlesinger said that, in the case of Vengeance, it was the only safe and responsible thing to do.

Efforts to authenticate the manuscript through government and intelligence sources were equally frustrating. The magazine interviewed no fewer than nine intelligence experts, most of whom insisted on anonymity. Most had

serious reservations about Avner’s story, and one senior Washington intelligence expert said, after he had read excerpts from Vengeance, “The book does not seem probable.” Similarly, John Graeny, a former Central Intelligence Agency operative who is executive director of the Washington-based Association of Former Intelligence Officers, said: “I do not think the book rings true [but] if even part of the story is true, his [Avner’s] motives need careful examination. If he was a former Mossad agent, then Mossad obviously knows who he is and how to find him.”

Assassination: At the official level, Israel maintained its long-standing policy of not commenting on speculation about Mossad activities. But Avi Pazner, official spokesman for Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, said: “I have never heard of the manuscript at all.” Added Mordechai Dolinsky, director of the government press office: “There will be no official reaction.” Col. Ranan Gissen, military spokesman for the Jerusalem area, declared: “We do not go denying or confirming, because if I deny or confirm, I reveal Mossad methods of operation. But it smacks of a lot of imagination plus maybe some known facts. It is a fascinating subject and it sells books. But it gives the whole question of counterterrorism a romantic aura when in fact it is very dirty, gruesome and arduous work. It is no game.”

By contrast, the publishers and the author decided not to approach any official sources in Israel with Avner’s story.

The reason: they expected denials that the assassination team existed and that such a mission had ever taken place. Said Jonas: “If you call them, you simply alert them to the fact that you are doing the book. You couldn’t call them on day one. When it is all done, you can give them a call and you could then begin the book with the following statement:

‘Everything in this book is denied by all official sources.’ ” Dennys, the book’s editor, added,

“It was a decision George made and we supported.”

Jonas’s involvement with Lester & Orpen Dennys came after the Vengeance project was already under way. Ac-

cording to Lester, the book began when he received a telephone call in August, 1981, from what he describes as an intermediary. Said Lester: “The caller said there was a man with an interesting story to tell. We arranged a meeting, and the man with the story proved to be Avner.” Both Lester and Dennys say they were highly dubious after that first meeting, but they knew that, if his story were true, it had the makings of an international publishing coup.

According to Lester, the anticipated cost of bringing Vengeance to press would have been too great for his company, a small but respected Toronto publishing house which has brought out a number of books of special interest to Jewish readers. The company is especially noted for its line of international fiction. It was the lead publisher on three books by Britain’s Graham Green e—Monsignor Quixote, Ways of Escape and J'accuse—who is also Dennys’s uncle. As for Vengeance, Lester said: “The budget was beyond us. I mean, we didn’t want to stint on a book like this, and we z felt that Collins would i provide some financial z clout and also provide a ä kind of co-publishing re-

lationship which could be to everybody’s advantage.”

Lester and Harris reached an agreement under which the two companies would serve as co-publishers if Avner’s story could be developed as a book. At the same time, Harris and Jonas signed an agreement under which Jonas would undertake to write a book for Collins. He already had written three volumes of poetry, a novel entitled Final Decree (Macmillan, 1981) and was co-author, with his former wife, editor-writer Barbara Amiel, of the best-selling nonfiction mystery By Persons Unknown (Macmillan, 1977). Harris and Lester discussed writers who might serve them well with the Avner story, if it continued to look promising, and Jonas was one of them.

Shadowy: Meanwhile, Lester and Dennys held a series of meetings with Avner, who became increasingly convincing. Dennys undertook a crash reading course on the subject of Mideast terrorism and Mossad. And Avner took them deeper and deeper into the shadowy world of spies, surveillance, tradecraft and counterterrorist methods. But, as Dennys said, there was still nothing to confirm the claims about the assassination team beyond already published accounts of some of the killings. Finally, Dennys says, she “personally checked with a reliable Western intelligence source who was able to confirm certain significant details of the story as presented to us by Avner, details that had not appeared in print before.” She concedes that her checking “did not provide us with proof positive [of Avner’s claims], but it did establish a certain basis of trust.” ►

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At that point, early in the fall of 1981, Lester sat down and wrote a one-page outline of Vengeance and he, Dennys and Harris set out for the Frankfurt book fair, an annual international publishing convention at which editors, publishers, book sellers, agents and writers mingle and try to strike deals. (Harris recalls that he had already had preliminary discussions with his parent company in London, before the Frankfurt fair, about the possibility of an important book coming out of Canada.) At Frankfurt, William Collins Sons publisher Christopher Maclehose bought world rights—except for Canada and the United States—to Vengeance on the strength of Lester’s brief outline. With money for research, all that remained was to find a writer, determine that Avner was what he claimed to be, produce a manuscript and await the profits.

At the same time,

Avner was becoming impatient. He said later that he knew almost nothing about book publishing when he made the decision to tell his story. He had no idea how long it took to research, write and then print a major nonfiction book. “All I knew,” he said, “was that I didn’t want to do it in New York. I was afraid that maybe the word would leak out too soon, that somehow the project would be killed. I thought of England and Canada. But I couldn’t afford to travel back and forth to England. Then I heard about Lester & Orpen Dennys. It was respected, had strong international connections and had done a number of Jewish books. I had somebody make a call and then I went to see them in their office in Toronto. But I didn’t know it would take so long.”

Thriller: According to Dennys, she, Lester and Harris decided to approach Jonas with Avner’s story because after “great discussion we all agreed we were looking for a writer of real integrity and intelligent skepticism of mind, someone who would take the material and research it thoroughly. Ultimately it came down to George.” Added Lester: “We also wanted somebody who was

right here because of the editorial work involved. We would be the originating publisher so all the work would be done here.”

Jonas—whom Collins president Harris described as “a man who doesn’t believe a thing he is told”—was willing to meet Avner and listen. He was interested, he said, because of the general theme of counterterrorism, because he too is Jewish and because he felt mild guilt at not having paid more attention to recent developments in the Middle East. Jonas added: “I didn’t know much

about intelligence. I had never even read a thriller.”

Both Jonas and Avner were wary of each other at the beginning. Jonas, at least, realized that a collaboration would work only if they got along well. “It was a case,” he said, “where everybody had to be satisfied. Avner didn’t know a writer from a hole in the ground. After the first meeting the publishers asked him what he thought, and he said, ‘Fine. He looks okay, he didn’t rub me the wrong way. Now I have to ask around.’ ” While Avner reassured himself that Jonas was what he claimed to be—a writer and a CBC radio producer with a reputation as a highly creative

and hard-working man—Jonas and his agent, Nancy Colbert, worked out a preliminary deal with the publishers. Said Jonas: “It all came together in, I think, February, 1982.”

Adamant: At first he agreed merely to research the subject matter and conduct a series of interviews with Avner in an effort to determine whether his story merited a book. Jonas stipulated and wrote into his contract that he would withdraw from the project if, at any point, he concluded that Avner was a fraud. And he was adamant that he would not merely write a biography of his principal source. “The idea,” Jonas said, “was that I would do a book that would give a complete background, that would actually tell the story of the events in that region at that period of time.” Jonas said that he approached the all-important problem of authenticating Avner’s story from three different directions: documentary

proof; supportive material from independent sources; and rigorous checking of every fact and detail that Avner could volunteer during dozens of hours of questioning. In the process, Jonas said, he was able to identify and confirm scores of previously unpublished facts, and a chain of supporting evidence developed to the point at which he decided “that the guy was basically what he claimed to be. The errors 5 he made or the things he I said which I was subsez quently able to disprove, « seemed to me to be well within reasonable limits.”

Jonas said he visited every location he mentions in the book, except for Cyprus, in the course of his research. On two occasions, he said, he travelled through European border points using false identity documents which Avner had provided. Jonas also studied the practical aspects of the security trade: methods of establishing safe houses, making clandestine payments and finding weapons and explosives. Jonas said that Avner showed him many confirmatory details and that he found many others through other sources.

But Jonas was unable to meet Steve, the only other member of the assassination team who, according to the book,

COVER

survived the mission. Avner would not let him interview the widows of Carl and Robert (“They are absolutely off limits,” Avner said). And Jonas was unable to talk to Avner’s parents. But Jonas said that he did meet Avner’s wife, identified in the book as “Shoshana,” a woman Jonas described as “the perfect soldier’s wife.” He also met Avner’s alleged brother, “Ber.” Attractive: Jonas completed the manuscript last September, and the publishers began promoting it in Canada and preparing to invade the rich U.S. market. Lester said that he told Canadian booksellers that Vengeance would be the publishing equivalent of singer

Michael Jackson’s Thriller album—a runaway hit. Said Lester: “The trade was also intrigued by the co-publishing arrangement. It is not unique but it is rare.” Harris added that the partnership has worked smoothly: “We had never done anything like it before,” he said, “but it has been a happy experience.”

The U.S. rights were sold at an auction organized by Dennys last fall. Representatives from six major publishing houses were invited to the St. Moritz Hotel in New York to read the manuscript. Two weeks later Dennys conducted the bidding—by phone—over a two-day period. All six made initial bids, according to Dennys, and it took four rounds to determine a winner. “Simon & Schuster had the highest bid,” added Dennys, “and they also offered the most attractive package in terms of promotion and experience. Michael

Korda himself handled the bidding.” Dennys and Lester confirmed that two or three days before the auction Korda sought to make a pre-emptive bid for Vengeance. They turned it down. According to Lester, “Michael said that this is going to be their number 1 book this spring.” Korda, an author himself (Charmed Lives, a 1982 best seller), may have changed his mind. An initial press run of 40,000 copies does not signify blockbuster expectations in the U.S. market. The $125,000 Simon & Schuster paid for Vengeance also includes the right to sell paperback rights in the United States (Collins owns the paperback rights in Canada, as part of the original co-publishing deal), and Korda said, “There has been a great deal of

interest in the paperback rights, but I cannot confirm any prices.”

Blitz: On the subject of the story itself, Korda said: “I read and worked on the manuscript and I had three or four meetings with Avner as well as frequent telephone calls from him.” As for the book’s veracity, he said: “Our position is dealt with very fully in the preface, which explains the basis on which it was written and on which we are publishing it.” Added Korda: “Nobody has questioned the veracity of the book yet or attacked it. If and when they do, I will reply point by point. I think there is obviously no way of proving that Avner is who he says he is. As to the events described in the book, there is no question that they did take place.”

The foreign publishers and the Canadian principals in the Vengeance agreement clearly hope to make large amounts of money. So does Avner, who

concedes that money was one of the principal reasons he decided to tell his tale. But for Jonas, the book is clearly more than a potential source of royalty cheques. Vengeance may be Avner’s story, but it is Jonas’s book, and he is proud of it.

But if Vengeance hits the best-seller lists around the world, Jonas’s subsequent earnings as a book writer may lift him into the rarefied heights of affluent authors. He is currently thinking about writing another novel. His earlier Final Decree, which was well reviewed and well written, was a disappointment in sales, Jonas says, and he was unhappy with its limited promotion. The prepublication publicity blitz surrounding Vengeance is a dramatic leap forward

from that. Still, Jonas, who likes to roar around Toronto on a motorcycle with a sidecar, says he is not pricing MercedesBenzes just yet. “I haven’t owned a car in years,” he said, laughing.

On the more unsettling issue of Avner and the credibility of his story, Jonas answers the question one more time: “To my mind, if he is not legit, then he can only be a disgruntled ex-employee of Mossad with sufficient knowledge of what has gone down in this area. As far as I am concerned, if he is not who he says he is, then that is what he is.” Jonas concluded, “You know, I have never denied the possibility that the man did not play exactly the same role he claims.” And that is the intractable problem with Vengeance.

With Marci McDonald in Jerusalem, Peter Lewis in Munich, Ian Mather in London, William Lowther in Washington, Lenny Glynn in New York and Mary Janigan in Ottawa.

Marci McDonald

Peter Lewis

Ian Mather

William Lowther

Lenny Glynn

Mary Janigan