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I’ve reported many scores of stories here under Israeli military censorship or judicial gag orders. This is one of the more important ones. The New Yorker reported that the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah’s then-number two leader, Imad Mugniyeh, was a joint operation of the CIA and Israel’s Mossad. It was intended to avenge his alleged role in the bombings of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1982, and the bombings of the Israeli embassy and Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. Both intelligence agencies claimed he played instrumental roles in each of those attacks (though there are conflicting views about this).
According to Yossi Melman’s new book, Imperfect Spies (only in Hebrew), the NSA offered communications intercepts which pinpointed Mugniyeh’s location and allowed him to be tracked. In return, the U.S. set down conditions under which it would permit the murder. Among them, that the bombing would not injure or kill bystanders and that it could not be done during school hours.
The Mossad responded by tasking its bombmaker with creating an explosive which would kill its target but cause no collateral damage. In Melman’s manuscript, he named the Mossad chief of operations tasked with this responsibility.
But all such books must be reviewed by the military censor. In this case, the censor characteristically removed the Mossadnik’s full name and substituted his first initial, “N.” However, censorship is often inept, as Melman will readily tell you. In this case, the censor didn’t catch the man’s full name listed in the book index, nor did it catch a similar reference to his first initial on page 423 of the book. Thus, anyone who buys this book will find the Mossad officer fully exposed. That’s what is called in Hebrew/Arabic, a fashla!
The bombmaker is Noam Erez. At the time of the Mugniyeh murder, he was the spy agency’s deputy to Tamir Pardo. Here is an exceedingly cleaned-up version of his bio:
Erez served as the Senior Executive in the Israeli Intelligence, in charge of the entire operational spectrum of the organization. Mr. Erez started his 30-year career in the Israeli Intelligence in a special operations division where he quickly rose in ranks, finally assuming the position of commander of the division. Once completing a successful term as commander, Mr. Erez went on the lead the technological operations division, where he planned and executed a growth strategy for the cyber capabilities, bringing it to a global leadership position. Following that role, Mr. Erez served as the Chief of Staff, where he oversaw the long-term budget planning, HR, and resource planning of the entire organization.
He was Pardo’s chosen successor. But Bibi (and even more importantly, Sara, who has veto power over all major government decisions) preferred the handsome, charming Yossi Cohen, who eventually got the top job. Erez left the Mossad and, as most former senior intelligence officials do, joined his ex-boss (English version) in a cyber-security startup, XM Cyber, where he is the CEO.
Fortunately, he doesn’t appear to be making bombs any longer. But he may not want to plan any business trips to Beirut, Syria or Iran any time soon.
Military Censor Suppresses Identity of New Elite Commando Unit Leader
Tonight, we also violate a second case of military censorship. The IDF recently named the new commander of its Shaldag air commando unit. For the first time, it named a Druze officer to the post. The identities of senior IDF officers are generally suppressed by the military censor (except the most senior members of the general staff). The intent is both to protect them from being attacked during and after military service; and to shield them from prosecution by the International Criminal Court.
I believe Israel’s military has committed war crimes and should be subject to the ICC. That’s only one of the reasons I expose these individuals. The new Shaldag commander is Lt. Col. Ayoub Kayouf.
Druze historically have been the most receptive to Israeli Jews among Israel’s Arab minority. During the Nakba, the Druze cooperated with Jews and they were not expelled from their homes and village as many other Palestinians were. Many of the men serve in the army, though traditionally they served in segregated units reserved for “minorities,” such as reconnaissance. Their command of Palestinian Arabic is also an asset in certain commando assignments.
During deliberations over Israel’s racist Nation State law, Druze in particular felt betrayed because not only did the legislation enshrine Jews as superior, it relegated the Druze to second-class citizenship by law. Given the increasing racism of Israel’s Jewish majority, a growing number of young Druze are refusing to serve in the military. This promotion may be the army’s way of trying to make it up to the Druze community.
One of the IDF’s most embarrassing recent operations involved a Sayeret Matkal unit infiltrating into Gaza to plant surveillance gear in the enclave. When the unit, disguised as Gazans was intercepted and exposed, a gunfight erupted, 20 Hamas Militants were killed and the Israeli unit had to be evacuated on an emergency basis by helicopter.
However, they left behind their commander, Lt. Col. Mahmoud Kheireddine, who was the overall deputy commander of Israel’s most elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal. He was killed in crossfire by his own fellow soldiers. He too was Druze. The military censor refused to permit publication of his name, which I did in my blog.
It is yet another sad confirmation of Israeli racism that while Kheireddine was alive he applied unsuccessfully for a permit to build a home for his family. Israel’s apartheid regime routinely refuses such requests for its non-Jewish citizens.