Shula Cohen was born in 1920. When Shula was 17, she (like the biblical Esther) found herself in a marriage she neither asked for nor wanted, to a very wealthy man she hardly knew. Yet, like Esther, it was through this marriage that God was able to get her in the place she needed to be in order to save her family, her people, and even her country.
One year she volunteered to be the one to go to the Lebanese official in order to get the permit that the local Jewish school needed for their yearly graduation event. After hearing her out, the official told her that every year the school went to him for its permission and every year he granted it and that year would be no different. He then asked her if she felt it necessary to go to his office to pick up the permit. She told him “no” and he told her to meet him at his house the next day to pick it up.
As she left, she couldn’t believe that she had just agreed to go to this man’s house but having no choice at that point, she went. When she got there, he introduced her to his wife and daughter, who was right around the same age. The two girls quickly became good friends. He would tell people that Shula was like a daughter to them and that she made their family complete.
Through this, God, unbeknownst to Shula, opened the door for her to do amazing things for Him and His people. Because she was like family to this high official, she was generally accepted by the social and official circles of Lebanon and Syria, and thus found herself being invited to their parties and things.
At one such party in 1947, she overheard the Egyptian and Syrian Generals talking about their battle plans to attack and destroy Israel. She did not know what to do – she did not ask to be a spy and yet she could not just remain silent and do nothing to try to protect her people. All night she wrestled with what she should do.
Finally coming to a decision the next morning, she emptied her house of servants for the day and set to work. Writing a letter as if to a cousin in Jerusalem who was ill, she then made invisible ink (a talent she had learned in school) and wrote all the battle plans and details over her visible letter.
Not knowing how else to mail it, she then went to her husband’s business (something that was entirely unacceptable in their society). He, believing her cousin in Jerusalem was really ill and that she was so distraught about it, agreed to ask a man that lived on the border of Israel and did business with him every week, to pass her letter (that was only addressed to Jerusalem) to someone across the border.
As God would have it, that very day, almost to the minute, just “happened” to be the day that this man was coming to do business with her husband. And, as God would have it, he unsuspectingly agreed to pass it to Israeli soldiers at the border. This letter miraculously found its way into the hands of the right people, who found the invisible writing and got the information in time to prepare.
Immediately the intelligence services asked her to help smuggle refugees across the borders to which she agreed, helping thousands of Jews escape into Israel. Later in the 1950’s, she formed a spy group that obtained and smuggled secret Lebanese and Syrian documents out of the country.
Fourteen years after that night in 1947 that forever changed her life and shortly after giving birth to her 6th child, she was arrested and thrown into prison. For 2 ½ years she was in solitary confinement and every other day during this time, she was tortured. But with God as her rock and many prayers for strength, she never broke and never betrayed anyone.
After 2 ½ years she was sentenced to death by hanging, which her husband was able to get changed to life in prison and then eventually only 20 years in prison. Around this time the Arabs captured an Israeli pilot and during the negotiations that followed, as Shula said, “Israel remembered little Shula Cohen” and said they would agree to the terms but they wanted her too.
So in 1967, after she had been in prison for 7 years, she and her family left all their earthly wealth behind and made a new start in their beloved Land Israel, where they currently reside.
Authored by Sharon LaGoy