I’ve been reporting here lately on reports that the Shin Bet refused to provide Avigdor Lieberman security clearances that would’ve enabled him to see top secret documents about his then portfolio as minister of strategic affairs, Iran. An authoritative Israeli source also reported on longstanding rumors that Lieberman might be a KGB mole recruited to make aliya when he was a young man.
Now comes a new report in Yediot Achronot about an explosion between Lieberman and the Mossad that caused the minister to sever ties with the agency. Supposedly, the tension involves the spymasters usurping the authority of the foreign ministry with regard to relations with other nations. There are some nations which have rendered Israeli foreign ministry personnel as persona non grata. In some of them, the nations in question actually prefer to conduct relations with the Mossad, thus creating a side-channel that avoids the ministry altogether.
The Mossad also sends its secret cables from Israeli embassies throughout the world, but prevents the foreign ministry from seeing them. This causes the MFA officials to feel the Mossad is willing to take from them but not to give in return. The article quotes a ministry source:
In some instances they operated behind the backs of Israeli diplomats abroad and damaged their status. They put us through all sorts of rigamarole and we had to put a stop to this behavior.
The straw that broke the camel’s back apparently revolved around an incident in Israel-Turkish relations. During the period when there was no ambassador there, the Mossad developed its own contacts with the Turks arousing the ire of Lieberman and his colleagues. In some cases, the Turks appeared to favor dealing with the Mossad over the MFA.
As a result Lieberman’s announced the MFA will no longer share its cables with the Mossad.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.