When Shalva Hessel, newly-married Israeli girl living in London, discovered that her husband is not a lowly Israeli embassy attaché, but rather an active Mossad agent, her life turned upside down. When he was sent on a deep cover mission to a Muslim country under the disguise of a European businessman, Hessel insisted on joining him as part of his cover knowing that her life and that of her children might be in danger.
Despite fierce opposition from the Mossad and her own family, Hessel, now a successful entrepreneur, wrote a thinly disguised spy thriller, "Married to the Mossad," which became a best seller in Israel and had allot of media coverage and publicity. Now the book has been translated into English and on Amazon.
"I did not choose this life. I found out only after the marriage," - says Hessel.
"On the surface it looked like we were living the everyday life of a normal family except that underneath there was constant anxiety and fear and a big secret that if exposed, would get us all killed. But I had a mission to accomplish, to expose terror attack against the free world and my country," - says Hessel, who lives in Tel Aviv.
The experience of living under cover and a desire to finally tell her story, was one of the motivations for writing the book, - says Hessel.
"There were times in my life when I had to take on a different identity and be someone else," - she says. "Despite my social nature, I couldn't be friendly with everyone. When my best friend in a Muslim country turned out to be a rabid anti-Semite, I had to keep my mouth shut. Writing this book gave me a chance to tell my story with a message that everyone can do things that are greater than themselves, if they have faith."
When she and her family returned home, Hessel found the mundane routine of a wife, mother and computer engineer at a large insurance firm, boring.
When she discovered a plot to defraud the Swiss billionaire who had funded her studies as a young woman, she jumped at the opportunity to help him and called forth the skills she had learned during her time undercover. She faced a ruthless and determined enemy bent on destroying anyone in his path. There were death threats against her family.
"Looking back, I cannot believe I persisted and did not walk away," - says Hessel. "This was a very dangerous and cruel international group and I knew that only I can do it and save the man's family, especially his children."
In the book, the female character, Sally, falls in love with the billionaire almost tearing her marriage apart.
Hessel doesn't elaborate on this topic, says - "it was complicated" and adds that to date, her husband has not read her book.
Besides being a spy thriller, "Married to the Mossad" is also story of self discovery.
"I found that I have the courage, that I am brave and fearless and can be tough. I scare myself sometimes," - she says. "I have a lot of faith in God and believe that if I do the right thing, I can achieve great things."
July/August - 2018
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2010 Jan/Feb issue
Tammy Erickson, Olympic Medalist
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