Intelligence: The Recruitables


July 30, 2020: Israeli police arrested another two Israeli-Arabs and charged them with spying for Hezbollah. The two had been recruited while on a trip to Turkey in December 2019. The recruiters were two Israeli-Arabs who had been suspected of espionage but who fled to Lebanon before they could be arrested. From Lebanon the married couple continue to seek out Arab-Israelis who might be recruited. This can be done via the Internet, which is regularly monitored by Israeli intelligence for such activity. The recruiters offer money for obtaining low-level information about Israeli military operations in northern Israel where most Arab-Israelis live.

Israel first became aware of how extensive this Hezbollah recruiting operation was in 20016 when they captured many Hezbollah facilities during the 2006 war in Lebanon. Also captured were many Hezbollah operatives who were interrogated. Israel learned a lot about Hezbollah intelligence gathering activities. Hezbollah intel operations were more widespread and energetic than the Israelis believed. In addition to information collected electronically (like cell phone numbers of Israeli soldiers), there was apparently a network of spies within Israel. Most Arab-Israelis live in northern Israel, and some appear to have been on Hezbollah’s payroll.

Since these 2006 revelations Hezbollah has openly boasted of its spy network along the Israeli border and inside Israel. Hezbollah agents are constantly photographing Israeli border guard activity, and sometimes sneaking across the border to do so. Then there is the growing number of Israeli Arabs are also spying for Hezbollah. Mainly Hezbollah wants better target information for its 50,000 Iranian supplied rockets and missiles.

Since 2006 there has been a growing problem with the loyalty of Israeli Arabs, who make up 20 percent of the population. A 2007 opinion survey of the Israeli Arabs revealed some scary attitudes. For example, 48 percent believed the Hezbollah rocket attacks on northern Israel in 2006 were justified, even though Israeli Arabs suffered a disproportionate number of the Israeli casualties simply because most Israeli Arabs live in the north. Moreover, half saw the Hezbollah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, which triggered the 2006 war, as justified, and 89 percent considered the Israeli attack on Lebanon a war crime. Only 44 percent believed the Hezbollah rocket attack was a war crime. A third of Arab high school and college graduates don't believe that six million Jews were killed during World War II compared to 28 percent of all Israeli Arabs. Israeli Arabs also have fears like the possibility of mass expulsions from Israel (60 percent), or transfer of their communities to a new Palestinian state (62 percent). In fact, 68 percent would prefer to live in Israel even if there were a peace deal that led to the creation of a Palestinian state. Meanwhile, 63 percent of Israel Jews avoid entering Arab towns or neighborhoods, and 68 percent fear civil unrest among Israeli Arabs. Since 2007 these anti-Israel attitudes among Arab Israelis have gotten worse and Hamas, Hezbollah and ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) try to take advantage of it.

ISIL has been the most successful, mainly because it is the most radical Islamic terrorist group and that appeals to the young (especially teenage) Moslem males who are big fans of Islamic terrorism. At least fifty Israeli Arabs are known to have joined ISIL and most appear to have died there or otherwise disappeared from view or at least contact with their families back in Israel. At least seven Israeli-Arabs were confirmed dying while fighting for ISIL.

In many instances Israeli-Arab activities that help Hezbollah have nothing to do with actually spying. In 2010 Israeli police arrested an army NCO and charged him with treason for supplying information on border security, along the Lebanese frontier, to a local drug smuggling gang. The NCO, who worked on vehicle maintenance in a northern Israel army base, also provided the names of seven local civilians who were also working for the drug gang. Five of these were arrested. What was most troublesome about this was that the drug gang was known to work with Hezbollah, which controls most of southern Lebanon.

The NCO provided information on which border posts were having problems with their surveillance equipment, or other gear, and what the patrol schedules were. The drug gangs bring their stuff in from Lebanon, where Hezbollah has to be paid off. Information on the Israeli military is very valuable, and it's believed that Hezbollah was getting what the Israeli sergeant was passing on to the drug gang. The Israeli NCO said he did it for the money offered by the drug smugglers.




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