From James Bond Character to Mossad Spy

The Intriguing Double Life of Chaim Topol

Discover the captivating and intriguing double life of Chaim Topol, the beloved actor known for his iconic role in Fiddler on the Roof. When Chaim Topol passed away in March 2023, his children unveiled a well-guarded secret: their father had served as a Mossad spy based in London. Balancing his career as a movie star with covert operations, Topol worked alongside renowned Mossad officer Zvi ‘Zvika’ Malkin, engaging in missions that ranged from surveillance installations to assisting with security arrangements. This article delves into the remarkable story of Chaim Topol, shedding light on his hidden life as a spy, his contributions to Mossad operations, and the legacy he left behind.

Key Takeaways

  1. Chaim Topol, known for his role in Fiddler on the Roof, led a double life as a Mossad spy based in London.
  2. He collaborated closely with Mossad officer Zvi ‘Zvika’ Malkin, who was involved in the capture of Adolf Eichmann.
  3. Topol’s involvement with Mossad included missions such as installing surveillance equipment and assisting with security arrangements.
  4. Despite his secret spy activities, Topol maintained a successful acting career, including roles in For Your Eyes Only and Fiddler on the Roof.
  5. Topol’s legacy extended beyond his acting and spy work, as he was also actively involved in charitable causes, founding Variety Israel to support disabled children and their families.

Topol’s Encounter with Zvi ‘Zvika’ Malkin and the Eichmann Operation

At the core of Topol’s involvement with Mossad was his close friendship with Zvi ‘Zvika’ Malkin, one of the officers who orchestrated the daring operation to kidnap Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann from Argentina in 1960. Malkin’s successful mission led to Eichmann’s subsequent trial and execution in Israel in 1962. Topol’s connection to Malkin provided him with a gateway into the clandestine world of espionage.

Revealed: Chaim Topol’s Secret Life as a Mossad Agent
Revealed: Chaim Topol’s Secret Life as a Mossad Agent


From Bond Movie to Spy: Topol’s Role in For Your Eyes Only

Chaim Topol’s remarkable acting career also brought him alongside Roger Moore in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only (1981). In the movie, he played Milos Columbo, a Greek smuggler inspired by the real-life British spy Enrico Colombo. Little did the audience know that Topol’s on-screen role as a spy mirrored his own covert activities as a Mossad operative.

Chaim-Topol in for your eyes only
Chaim-Topol in for your eyes only

Topol’s Contribution to Mossad Operations

Topol’s involvement with Mossad went beyond his acting career. During the 1970s and 1980s, he provided valuable assistance to the intelligence agency. His role included aiding Zvika Malkin in security arrangements and assisting with the transfer of sensitive documents and installation of surveillance equipment. Remarkably, this was taking place concurrently with Topol’s appearances in high-profile films like For Your Eyes Only, showcasing his ability to successfully balance his double life.


The Spy Life: Anecdotes and Intrigue

Topol’s family members revealed intriguing details about his life as a Mossad spy. His daughter, Adi, expressed her apprehension about discovering hidden devices and cameras while going through her father’s London apartment. She recounted how Zvika Malkin would arrive in disguise through the backyard, ensuring his presence remained discreet. Adi humorously questioned how he managed to enter without a key, to which Malkin cryptically replied, “You call that a lock?”

Mossad Tools of the Trade

Galia, Topol’s widow, recalled witnessing her husband carrying a small Minox camera and a tiny spool tape recorder during his trips abroad. These gadgets were part of the essential tools used by Mossad agents for surveillance and information gathering. Topol’s relentless pursuit of adventure and courage, coupled with his acting skills, made him a natural fit for missions that demanded discretion and secrecy.

Topol’s Legacy: From Humble Beginnings to Global Stardom

Born in 1935 in Tel Aviv, Chaim Topol rose to prominence in the entertainment industry. He gained early recognition for his role in the Israeli comedy Sallah Shabati, which earned him a Golden Globe award. Topol later achieved worldwide acclaim for his portrayal of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, winning a second Golden Globe and receiving an Oscar nomination.

Despite his success, Topol remained grounded, actively participating in charitable causes. He founded Variety Israel, an organization supporting disabled children and their families, showcasing his compassion and commitment to helping others.


1. How did Chaim Topol become involved with Mossad?

Chaim Topol’s involvement with Mossad stemmed from his close friendship with Zvi ‘Zvika’ Malkin, one of the officers responsible for the capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. This connection provided Topol with an entry point into the world of espionage. Recognizing his loyalty, skills, and ability to maintain secrecy, Mossad enlisted him for various covert operations, taking advantage of his double life as a renowned actor. The agency valued Topol’s dedication and his unique position in the entertainment industry, which allowed him to move discreetly and gather valuable intelligence.

2. What kind of missions did Chaim Topol undertake as a Mossad spy?

Chaim Topol’s missions as a Mossad spy were diverse and multifaceted. One notable operation involved installing surveillance on an Arab nation’s embassy in a European capital. His role encompassed assisting Zvika Malkin in security arrangements, transferring sensitive documents, and installing surveillance equipment. Topol’s ability to seamlessly blend his acting career with covert activities allowed him to operate covertly and gather crucial information without drawing attention.

3. Was Chaim Topol involved in any other spy organizations besides Mossad?

There is no concrete evidence to suggest that Chaim Topol was involved with any other spy organizations besides Mossad. His primary association was with Mossad, where he worked closely with Zvi ‘Zvika’ Malkin. While Topol’s acting career and connections within the entertainment industry may have made him an asset to other intelligence agencies, there is no substantial information to support his involvement with organizations beyond Mossad.

4. How did Chaim Topol manage to maintain his double life as a spy and an actor?

Maintaining a double life as a Mossad spy and a successful actor required meticulous planning and discretion. Topol’s close relationship with Zvika Malkin, his main Mossad contact, allowed for effective coordination between his acting commitments and intelligence operations. He learned to compartmentalize his roles, ensuring that his covert activities remained separate from his public persona. Topol’s ability to keep secrets and navigate the world of espionage relied on the trust and support of his family, who played an essential role in maintaining the secrecy surrounding his covert operations.

5. Did Chaim Topol’s family know about his involvement with Mossad?

Chaim Topol’s children only discovered their father’s involvement with Mossad after his passing. They revealed this closely guarded secret, shedding light on the hidden life he led as a spy. However, there is no indication that his family was aware of his activities during his lifetime. Mossad took extensive measures to ensure the secrecy of its operatives, and Topol’s family was intentionally kept in the dark to protect his safety and the integrity of his missions.

6. How did Chaim Topol’s acting skills contribute to his work as a spy?

Chaim Topol’s acting skills were invaluable to his work as a Mossad spy. His ability to assume different identities, convincingly portray characters, and adapt to various situations allowed him to blend seamlessly into his surroundings while conducting covert operations. Topol’s talent for deception and his understanding of human behavior enabled him to gather intelligence effectively. Additionally, his fame as an actor provided him with access to influential individuals, offering unique opportunities for information gathering.

7. Did Chaim Topol face any risks or dangers while working as a Mossad spy?

As a Mossad spy, Chaim Topol undoubtedly faced significant risks and dangers. Engaging in espionage activities, particularly surveillance and intelligence gathering, inherently exposes individuals to potential threats. The nature of his covert missions placed him in precarious situations, where discovery could have resulted in severe consequences, both personally and for the Mossad’s operations. However, the specific details and potential hazards encountered by Topol during his time as a spy remain largely undisclosed.

8. How did Chaim Topol’s involvement with Mossad affect his personal life?

Chaim Topol’s involvement with Mossad as a spy undoubtedly impacted his personal life. Maintaining a double life meant that he had to keep his activities secret from his family and loved ones. The clandestine nature of his work likely created a sense of isolation and necessitated a high level of compartmentalization. However, the full extent of the influence on Topol’s personal relationships remains largely unknown, as the details surrounding his covert operations and their impact on his personal life have not been extensively revealed.

9. Did Chaim Topol’s involvement with Mossad affect his acting career?

Chaim Topol’s involvement with Mossad did not significantly impact his acting career. Despite conducting secret missions for the intelligence agency, he continued to pursue his passion for acting and delivered memorable performances. Topol’s ability to successfully balance his double life as a Mossad spy and a prominent actor speaks to his exceptional talent, professionalism, and dedication to both spheres. His contributions to the film industry and his success in iconic roles like Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof solidified his status as an esteemed actor.

10. How did Chaim Topol’s legacy extend beyond his acting and spy work?

Chaim Topol’s legacy extended beyond his acting and spy work through his philanthropic endeavors. Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to charitable causes, particularly through the establishment of Variety Israel, an organization that supports disabled children and their families. Topol’s commitment to making a positive impact on society and his contributions to the welfare of others exemplify the depth of his character and the lasting legacy he left behind. His humanitarian efforts continue to inspire and uplift those in need, reflecting the enduring impact of his life beyond the realm of acting and espionage.


The revelation of Chaim Topol’s double life as both a beloved actor and a Mossad spy adds an intriguing layer to his already distinguished career. Balancing the glamour of Hollywood with the secrecy and danger of espionage, Topol exemplified versatility, dedication, and the ability to keep secrets. His collaboration with Zvi ‘Zvika’ Malkin and involvement in Mossad operations underscore the audacity and courage required for such clandestine activities. As we remember Chaim Topol’s captivating performances and his secret life as a spy, his legacy remains a testament to the indelible mark he left on both the world of cinema and the shadowy realm of espionage.

Chaim Topol

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