Information Warfare: June 2, 2004

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: Israels main intelligence agency, Mossad (Hebrew for Institute) has established a web site for recruiting and information gathering (Israelis, or anyone else, can provide information that would help Israeli security.) Officially known as ha-Mossad le-Modiin ule-Tafkidim Meyuhadim (The Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks), and established in 1951, Mossad is a small organization, with 2-3,000 full time staff. But Mossad has always depended on many more part timers and informants. The new website (http://www.mossad.gov.il/Mohr) received more than 350,000 visitors in its first 48 hours. Adjusting for population size, a new CIA site would have to draw over 20 million visitors. The Mossad site also took in over 2,500 job applications. 

In its first few decades, Mossad had a major advantage over intelligence agencies in any other nation. In the first few years after Israel was founded in 1948, over a million Jews from all over the world moved to Israel. This proved to be a gold mine of candidates for an organization that analyzed and spied on foreign countries. All these immigrants spoke the language of their former home countries like natives, and understood the culture. Thousands of these immigrants joined Mossad over the years, and some of them went back to the countries they were born and raised in,  to gather information and set up networks of spies. Mossad was thus exceptionally effective at what it did, and, despite Israels small size, the envy of much larger intelligence agencies in places like the United States and the Soviet Union. But that pioneer generation is gone now, and Israel has to work harder to maintain personnel standards Mossad has long been accustomed to. A large influx of migrants from Russia and Eastern Europe in the 1980s gave Israel more Mossad candidates expert in those countries, but the biggest dangers are still from Arab countries, Iran and Pakistan. Many Israelis still learn to speak Arabic, but they usually only know the Palestinian dialects. Every Arab country has a quite distinct dialect, and cultural customs as well. So Mossad is recruiting more energetically than it ever has had to do in the past.

 


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