From close up, the assassination of a Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general was probably preemption. In the big picture, it was definitely aggression. During the Second Intifada, (late 2000-2004) Israel made a habit of carrying out “targeted assassinations” of Palestinian militant leaders. The Palestinians, in turn, had a predilection for blowing up buses and cafes. After an assassination of a high-up Hamasnik or Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades man, some Israelis and many foreigners would question whether it was a good idea, whether it was worth the risk, given the likelihood that the Palestinians would be out for revenge. The routine…Read More... | 14 Comments
From arrests to home invasions to airstrikes, the repercussions of Bibi's finger pointing are being felt throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Reports surfaced yesterday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering "expelling" Hamas leaders from the West Bank, ostensibly as punishment for the alleged kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers. The scheme harkens to December 1992, when then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin famously banished 415 Palestinians to what was considered a no-man's-land just over the Lebanese border. Literally dumped on a hilltop and stateless, these accused members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad set up camp in the harsh winter --…Read More... | 75 Comments
Despite serving 18 years in prison, including 11 in solitary confinement, Vanunu is forbidden from traveling and speaking to the media. Recently, he was denied a permit to speak before the British Parliament, following an invitation by 54 MPs. The Israeli interior minister and the IDF Central Command have decided to extend restrictions on nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu's freedom of movement and speech. Vanunu’s attorney, Avigdor Feldman, has been notified on the decision and told +972 Magazine he will once again petition the High Court of Justice on Vanunu's case. Since his release from prison in 2004, Vanunu hasn't been…Read More... | 80 Comments
A recent report in Haaretz alleges that Nelson Mandela underwent training by Mossad agents in the early 60s. One key part of the story doesn't add up. By Ran Greenstein Let us start by asserting that the following story in question does not merit much attention for its content, that is, for what it presumes to tell us about Nelson Mandela, his stay in Ethiopia and the role of Israel and its security agencies. Rather, it is interesting because it throws light on the operation of the media and the ways in which stories can quickly circulate with little regard for…Read More... | 9 Comments
The Israeli 'hasbara' group that once sued Jimmy Carter and Twitter, represents Israeli soldiers accused of excessive force and war crimes and files lawsuits at the behest of the Israeli government, calls itself a 'human rights organization.' (Translated from Hebrew by Jordan Michaeli) You know Israel's policy – since no one believes a word it says (and rightfully so) – that the country must operate through third parties supposedly unconnected to it? This has officially been Israeli state policy since 2010, but it seems it was established much earlier. My Hebrew blog has dealt quite extensively with “Im Tirtzu,” and the…Read More... | 10 Comments
The World Summit on Counter Terrorism in Herzliya, through the eyes of the only person in the room who has sat down with the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah. By Paula Schmitt One type of person you can be sure to find at a conference on counter-terrorism is terrorists. I just attended a four-day long counter-terrorism masturbathon in Israel and the place was full of them. They don’t call themselves that, of course, they like to be called counter-terrorists. Tomato, tomah-to. I couldn't care less for semantics, but if that’s your thing you may want to attend the next ICT’s World Summit in…Read More... | 47 Comments
More worrying than the institutional instruments that enable censorship are the multiple forms of self-censorship that are deeply ingrained in the journalistic practices and conventions of Israeli media. By Ido Liven As the Hebrew proverb goes, "be a tail among lions rather than a head among foxes." In Freedom House's latest report, Israel's state of press freedom demonstrates just that. In the organization's 2012 report, Israel scored 30 on a scale of 10 to 97, putting its press freedom status at the bottom of the better “free” category. In the 2013 report, released on May 1, the country lost one point,…Read More... | 1 Comment
If the reports -- and unraveling details -- about Ben Zygier's work with the Mossad are true, Israel has every reason to try and keep his existence and identity a secret, however superflous those efforts may be. As details about the life, work and untimely demise of ‘Prisoner X’ unravel, the most intriguing unanswered questions remain: why did Israel secretly imprison him and why he is dead? But the details of the story appear to be making one thing clear; Israel’s security services likely had every reason in the world to (try to) keep the affair and Ben Zygier’s identity…Read More... | 8 Comments
The 'Prisoner X' affair was sensitive enough for Israel to use all of its censorship tools at once: the military censor, gag orders and the 'editors committee.' But was the effort by the Prime Minister's Office entirely about national security, or did it have to do with protecting those responsible for the mess? And what should the affair teach us about the ability to keep information from the public in this technological age? The affair known as the death of "Prisoner X" is becoming an interesting test case for the effect of new media on state secrets and the relations between…Read More... | 2 Comments
It seems that the prime minister is now trying to get an American commitment to a U.S. led military action in 2013. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau gave rare interviews to the Israeli media yesterday (Netanyahu usually prefers to speak to international reportes, who don't bother him with political issues). Israel's Hebrew channels and the Russian channel got 15 minutes each, on the condition that they won’t be edited. The messages were the same on every platform, explaining the new taxes, and, more important, answering recent headlines regarding the alleged opposition of the army and Mossad chiefs for a military strike…Read More... | 31 Comments
Foreign Policy journalist Mark Perry talks to +972 about his revelation of Mossad agents pretending to be CIA men while trying to recruit Iranian terrorists, explains why Israel and the U.S. are unlikely to fall out over the affair, and offers Israel a free tip. A "senior Israeli official" called your report "complete nonsense," and claimed that "had it been true, Meir Dagan would not be able to set foot in Washington." Haaretz writer Amir Oren also described you as a "declared supporter of the Arab cause." Your response? I would not expect the Israeli government to confirm my…Read More... | 17 Comments
The whole world knows the Mossad was likely behind the latest killing of an Iranian atomic scientist; the Iranians are swearing revenge, and nobody in Israel sounds bothered. Vibrant democracy, huh? Not one peep has been heard from any Israeli journalist or politician or public figure of any kind against this latest assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, which everyone on earth understands was probably carried out by the Mossad. (The only other possible suspect, the U.S., denounced the killing as "provocative and dangerous." On the previous day, Israeli military chief Benny Gantz told the Knesset that 2012 would see more of these "events that happen…Read More... | 47 Comments
A few months ago an Israeli rabbi gave his blessing to female agents of Israel's foreign secret service, the Mossad, who are required to have sex with the enemy in so-called "trapping" missions against terrorists. Rabbi Ari Shvat's ruling appeared in a study, "Illicit sex for the sake of national security," published by the Tzomet Institute, which studies the interface between religion and modernity. In response some of us going through life named after the first Jewish female agent had to respond. . By Yael Lavie CONFESSIONS OF A BORN AGAIN JEWISH UNDERCOVER FEMALE AGENT There was really not much…Read More... | 6 Comments
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The Iran Deal
Can Netanyahu torpedo the Iran deal? Will he destroy U.S.-Israeli relations trying?
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