UPDATE: The censor, probably reading these posts, has thought better of censoring Rosenberg’s identity and Israeli journalists will no longer brook the wrath of the censor by naming her. Another small victory against the national security state apparatus. If you support this work, please make a donation using the sidebar donation options.
This story was originally broken by Eran Cicurel of Kol Yisrael (his first story did not name her). He located and pursued Rosenberg and persuaded her to do a radio interview (Hebrew audio here). Her English name is Gillian (Gill) Rosenberg.
Canada’s The National has published a subsequent profile which even casts doubt on earlier parts of her biography which weren’t previously in dispute.
In this social media age, it’s apt that an ISIS-affiliated Twitter user who found Rosenberg’s Facebook profile, sporting pictures of her baking bread for her Kurdish brethren, outed her with this suitably homophobic tweet:
— Muthanna (@muthanna25) November 10, 2014
Apparently, Rosenberg is “lesbo” in the eyes of ISIS because she joined the Kurdish women’s resistance group, YPG. To be a female resistance fighter, to ISIS, you must be lesbian, I suppose.
Yossi Melman (and his Maariv article) and Dan Williams broke a story about a Canadian-Israeli con artist, the ‘Israeli Madoff,’ who contacted Kurdish forces via the internet and went to Iraq to fight against ISIS. Israeli censorship prohibits journalists in Israeli from identifying her. You’ll discover the reason below.
She is Gill Rosenberg. A 2009 profile of her criminal exploits was published here in Maariv. She was born and raised in Vancouver, BC. Parents had scorched-earth divorce. Mother forbade contact with her father and generally suffocated her emotionally. Flew Boeing planes for a civilian airline. To escape Mom, made aliyah to Israel from Canada. Served in the IDF in search and rescue unit of Home Front Command. Attempted, but failed to join Mossad. One look at her background should’ve told them that she’d be trouble!
Economic distress then led her to a pal from the Hebrew language ulpan in which she enrolled after making aliyah. She told him she was game for any scheme except selling her own body. So he recruited her to be a cold-caller in an Israeli version of Nigerian internet scams, which targeted naive older Americans and bilked them out of millions of dollars. The FBI and Israeli police fraud division were watching, taping every conversation as she called elderly Americans telling them they’d won the lottery. They reaped tens of millions from pensioners cheated out of their life savings. When authorities broke up the conspiracy, the Israelis agreed to have her tried in the U.S., where punishments were stiffer for such crimes. She served four years in a U.S. prison.
Released in 2013, she looked around for something new and exciting. Preferably something lucrative. She chose an option not exactly criminal, but certainly in keeping with her daring, off-beat past: she decided to become an anti-Islamist soldier of fortune. She contacted Iraqi Kurds and offered her services to them. She said she specifically offered her military training and expertise to the Kurds. She trained with them and is preparing to join the fighting on the Syrian border. She called an Israeli radio station, which interviewed her live.
Rosenberg has violated Israeli law by traveling to a country considered hostile. She could be prosecuted if she returns to Israel. Though the only figures prosecuted for this offense are Palestinian citizens. No Jews have been arrested or prosecuted for this infraction.
Given that Israel has potentially exported a former con artist to fight ISIS, the IDF censor thought better of revealing her identity so that her past would become known. But given that Rosenberg doesn’t serve in the IDF, it’s hard to understand what the justification for censorship is. Do you claim military censors are entitled to prevent the world from knowing Israelis are mercenaries? Or only when they’re fighting against Islamists?
Another interesting aspect of this case is that Israel is exporting not just weapons, but actual soldiers to fight against the Islamists. Israelis have served as mercenaries for decades and as security consultants for dictators the world over. But having Israeli Jews fighting in Arab lands against Islamists is a new wrinkle, even for Israel.