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By Richard Esposito | CBS News | Oct. 10, 2010
An Israeli rabbi has blessed the use of female spies in "honeytrap" or "honeypot" stings against terrorists, according to a study called "Illicit Sex for the Sake of National Security."
The ruling by Rabbi Ari Schvat, contained in a study published by the Zomet Institute, was first reported by the news agency DPA and published by Haaretz.com.
Israeli officials confirmed the rabbinical ruling and the gist of the study for ABC News.
The Zomet Institute studies the intersection of religion and modernity. It examined whether it was acceptable for female agents of Israel's foreign secret service, Mossad, to have sex with the enemy in so-called "honeypot" or "honeytrap" sting missions.
Israeli intelligence has made repeated use of honeytraps. In 1966, a female Israeli spy convinced an Iraqi pilot to defect to Israel with his MIG. Twenty years later, a female Mossad agent lured Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear technician who had revealed details of Israel's nuclear program, from England to Italy, where he was abducted and brought back to Israel.
But according to Haaretz.com, Rabbi Schvat wrote that honeypot missions are "not just a thing of modern-day espionage."
In fact, honeypot missions are rooted in Biblical lore, according to the report. "Queen Esther, who was Jewish, slept with the Persian king [Ahasuerus] around 500 BC to save her people," Schvat noted.
And, the report noted, Yael, wife of Hever, slept with the enemy chief of staff Sisra to tire him and cut off his head.
However there is a catch for married honeypots. "If it is necessary to use a married woman, it would be best [for] her husband to divorce her. ... After the [sex] act, he would be entitled to bring her back," Schvat wrote.
"Naturally, a job of that sort could be given to a woman who in any event is licentious in her ways."
Rules for male Mossad agents were not mentioned in the writings.
Schvat's study was praised by Zomet's director, Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, according to Haaretz, though Rosen conceded that "women employees of the Mossad are probably not going to come consult with a rabbi" before their missions.