The Life of Secret Agent Turned Hollywood Tycoon: Arnon Milchan By Meyer Doron and Joseph Gelman
Gefen Publishing House, 2011, 288 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - August 29, 2011
Few people realize that the famed Hollywood producer of over 110 films such as Pretty Woman, Free Willey, Once Upon a Time in America, JFK, Natural Born Killers, LA Confidential, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Marley and Me, and Knight and Day, was an Israeli master spy. Shimon Peres, President of Israel, wrote that his activities handed Israel a great strategic, technological, and diplomatic advantage. Doron and Gelmanís book calls him "a superagent in the real-world sense, and the closest thing to a real-life James Bond that one could imagine."
The authors reveal the true story of this significant undercover agent, a man who had a key role in securing successes in many of Israelís important intelligence operations. He helped supply Israel with its defense needs and in creating its ultimate deterrence capabilities. He secured important weapons and supplies for Israel that could not be obtained through regular channels because of the Arab boycott. As he explained to his mother, who feared for him, "Iím doing this to help our country survive." As a sideline, he also made himself into a billionaire. At the height of his activities, he controlled over thirty companies in seventeen countries and said, "I gave Israel free rein to use my companies to help in the defense and survival of my country."
Milchan, now 66 years old, was born with feelings of impatience, impulsiveness, an ability to keep secrets, and affinity for danger. As he said, "There is something in me that wants to or needs to do scary things. I need a dose of danger to breathe."
Among a multitude of other acquisitions, Milchan obtained many of the ingredients necessary for Israel to build atomic bombs. He secured the HAWK missiles and helicopters for Israel. He brokered a billion dollar deal with the US firm Rockwell that assisted Israel, Iran, and the US.
Besides telling the amazing exploits of Arnon Milchan, the authors also reveal significant information about Israel, the United States, Iran, and other countries. For example: Israel is the fifth or sixth country in the world in the number of atomic weapons in its possession. It can produce a nuclear bomb every two and a half weeks. When in 1973, Israel was almost defeated by the Egyptians, Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel told President Richard Nixon that Israel may have to use its atomic weapons against Egypt if Egyptian forces continued to advance. Nixon told Russia and Egypt and Egypt stopped advancing. Nixon also began to send Israel a large number of weapons so that it could defend itself, against the advice of the Jew Henry Kissinger. "Over fifteen hundred South Africans (mostly Jews) rushed as volunteers to fight for Israel, and the Pretoria government permitted over $30 million in aid to be sent to Israel."
The authors also tell that Israel had a secret agency called LAKAM devoted to securing weapons, illegally if necessary, since Israel needed them to survive. They reveal some but not much information about Jonathan Pollard, the American who spied on his country for Israel. They tell about Richard Kelly Smyth, who also helped Israel, who was arrested in 2001 and released in 2005, but Pollard is still in jail. Yet despite "US righteous indignation of Israeli spying on the United States, the US has continued to spy on Israel." The authors were unable to find out if Arnon Milchan is still working for Israel.