Israel Nets Ex-ping Pong Coach on Charges of Spying for Soviets
Menu JTA Search

Israel Nets Ex-ping Pong Coach on Charges of Spying for Soviets

Download PDF for this date

The former coach of Israel’s national ping pong team has been charged with spying for the former Soviet Union.

Alexander Radelis immigrated to Israel from the Soviet Union in 1979 after being drafted and trained by the KGB, according to a report on Israel’s Channel Two Television.

For eight years, Radelis passed information about the Israel Defense Force to the Soviets by Morse code from his apartment in the Tel Aviv area, according to the report.

Radelis was arrested three months ago and charged in Tel Aviv District Court, which last week allowed the case to be made public.

Radelis received some $4,100 from the former Soviet Union for the information he passed along, according to news reports.

Radelis, who prosecutors said had caused grave damage to Israel’s national security, confessed to the charges during interrogation.

“When I was recruited by the KGB, I was an innocent and young boy, and I was drawn into it without being able to get out,” he was quoted as telling investigators.

Israeli experts believe that the information Radelis passed on helped fill in information the Soviets were collecting about Israel.

But they were unsure how Radelis obtained sensitive information, because his position in the army engineering corps did not have a particularly high security clearance and he had no apparent links to high-placed individuals.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund