On Tuesday, February 19, the German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that Ben Zygier was not the only Australian recruited by the Mossad. During the concurrent time period in which Zygier conducted operations for the Israeli intelligence agency, two other Australian-Israelis, identified as Paul Y and David Z, were also employed by the Mossad.
The report indicated that the two other Australian native Jews were working with Zygier out of a base in Milan, Italy, which served as both a front for the Mossad and a venue that specialized in the sale of satellite communications technology.
The Der Spiegel report indicated that the Mossad was particularly interested in recruiting Australian Jews to their ranks because of an Australian law that allows their citizens to change both their first and last names once a year; thus affording them the opportunity to take on new identities at a fairly frequent pace.
During Zygier’s youth, reports indicate that he involved himself with the “Community Security Group” in Melbourne, which has been described as a kind of Jewish community defense team. Der Spiegel has reported that groups of this nature often have connections to the Mossad, and this was probably close to the time of Zygier’s recruitment, as well as the recruitment of “Paul Y.” and “David Z.”
It was reported that Zygier, Paul Y and David Z all emigrated to Israel after the completion of their higher education and all three hold dual Israeli-Australian citizenship. This set the groundwork for their recruitment by Mossad, said Der Spiegel.
As reported by The Jerusalem Post, the three men then applied for new names and Australian passports. Der Spiegel also said Ben Zygier became Benjamin Burrows or Benjamin Allen, and Y. and Z. changed their names too.
The report also said that in 2009 their frequent name changes caught the attention of Australian authorities and when Zygier was requested to hand his old passports to them, they were replete with entry visas from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Reportedly, Paul Y. had a passport containing visas from Syria, Iran, Egypt and Dubai, while David Z. had spent time in Iran. In 2004, David Z. allegedly sought help from the Australian consulate in Tehran.
According to Der Spiegel, Paul Y. and David Z. are reported to be still living in Israel. Possibly under new names.