By Harriet Sherwood
Nelson Mandela apparently underwent weapons training by Mossad agents in Ethiopia in 1962 without the Israeli secret service knowing his true identity, according to an intriguing secret letter lodged in the Israeli state archives.
The missive, revealed by the Israeli paper Haaretz two weeks after the death of the iconic South African leader, said Mandela was instructed in the use of weapons and sabotage techniques, and was encouraged to develop Zionist sympathies.
Mandela visited other African countries in 1962 in order to drum up support for the African National Congress\’s fight against the apartheid regime in South Africa. While in Ethiopia, he sought help from the Israeli embassy, using a pseudonym, according to the letter – classified top secret – which was sent to officials in Israel in October 1962. Its subject line was the \”Black Pimpernel\”, a term used by the South African press to refer to Mandela.
Haaretz quoted the letter as saying: \”As you may recall, three months ago we discussed the case of a trainee who arrived at the [Israeli] embassy in Ethiopia by the name of David Mobsari who came from Rhodesia. The aforementioned received training from the Ethiopians [a codename for Mossad agents, according to Haaretz] in judo, sabotage and weaponry.\”
It added that the man had shown interest in the methods of the Haganah, a Jewish paramilitary organisation that fought against the British rulers and the Arab population of Palestine in the 1930s and 40s, and other Israeli underground movements.