Thursday, October 04, 2012


 Flirting is fair game when it comes to national security. ‘A man who wants to gain access to a forbidden area has less chance of being allowed in… A smiling woman has a bigger chance of success’

In an unprecedented move, five high-ranking serving Israeli agents have been allowed to give on-the-record interviews to a media outlet.

The agents, who use pseudonyms, told the Hebrew-language women’s magazine, Lady Globes, that while flirting is encouraged on behalf of Israel’s national security, sexual intercourse is not.

One of the agents, named “Yael”, told the magazine that “a man who wants to gain access to some forbidden place or closed location has less chance of being allowed in. A smiling, flirtatious woman has a greater chance of success.”

Another agent, “Efrat”, added: “Using our femininity is a valid tool. But we draw the line at having sex. Even if sleeping with Iranian President Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, would advance the mission, our commanders in the Mossad would not allow us to do so.”

Famously, in the 1980s, a female Mossad agent called “Cindy” entrapped Israeli nuclear traitor Mordechai Vanunu, who sold what are believed to be the secrets of Israel’s nuclear arsenal to the London Sunday Times. Posing as an American tourist, “Cindy” lured Vanunu from his safe house in London to accompany her on a romantic weekend in Italy, where Vanunu was then ferried away by other Mossad agents and taken by ship to Israel to face trial.

Before being captured, Vanunu also granted interviews to the (London) Daily Mirror, and it has long been rumored that the late British-Czech businessman Robert Maxwell, who at the time owned the Daily Mirror, tipped the Mossad off as to Vanunu’s whereabouts. Maxwell also assisted Israel in 1947-48 when as a young Czech Jew he helped to secure airplanes in Czechoslovakia for what would become the Israeli Air force. After drowning in what is presumed to have been a boating accident, Maxwell was buried with full state honors on the Mount of Olives, with both the Israeli prime minister and leader of the opposition in attendance.

In their interview last week, the female agents also described a life that imposes extreme strain on the families (many have husbands and young children at home). They described a life of sleepless nights and intrigue, as well as putting their lives on the line in several cases.
However, they were severely limited by their Mossad handlers on what they could tell the magazine. Several have been involved in some of the Mossad’s most daring and successful operations, the existence of many of which have never been made public.

In extremely rare public comments to the magazine, the director of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo, praised what he called the agents “exceptional work.”

He commented: “In many cases, you see that women’s abilities are superior to men in terms of understanding the territory, reading situations, spatial awareness. When they’re good, they’re very good.”

Mossad's 'Honey Trap' Use Is Kosher, Rabbi says

  Female Mossad agents can relax. That classic spy tool, the honey trap, is kosher after all.

Rabbi Ari Shvat, an expert on Jewish law and modern politics, says Israeli women can sleep with the enemy in the interests of national security.

The scholar has found that it is not a breach of Jewish law for a woman to seduce terrorists and other dangerous enemies in order to gain vital intelligence to save lives.

The scholar's views on "Illicit Sex for the Sake of National Security" were published in Tehumin, the annual journal of the Zomet Institute in the West Bank, which researches the application of Jewish law to such modern-day issues as technology, medicine, politics and security.

Orthodox Judaism generally frowns on premarital sex, but it is not explicitly forbidden. However, Jewish law says there are technical problems if a female agent is married.

Shvat says it is preferable for a woman setting a honey trap to be single. If she is married, he suggests a technical solution: getting a quickie divorce from her husband before each mission and then re-marrying afterward. Otherwise, she is guilty of adultery, no matter how vital the asset.

He suggests obtaining a paper divorce that can be used for each mission to avoid the embarrassment -- and possible security leak -- of repeatedly returning to the rabbinical court.

Shvat takes as a precedent the case of Queen Esther, who married the Persian King Ahasuerus -- believed to be another name for Xerxes -- and saved the Jewish people from genocide. He also cites the story of Yael, a married woman mentioned in the Book of Judges, who seduces the enemy general Sisera and then drives a tent peg through his head in order to save her people.

Shvat says orthodox Jewish law has much to say about "initiating and making use of illicit sex in isolated and extreme cases when it is clear that this is the fastest and most efficient solution to acquire vital information or to prevent an act that endangers national security."

The Mossad's most famous honey trap was sprung by a seductive agent named Cheryl Bentov, who posed as an American named "Cindy" to lured atom spy Mordechai Vanunu from London to Rome in 1986.

Shvat is not the first rabbi to consider spy seduction. Ancient Jewish sages argued in the Talmud more than 1,000 years ago that it was praiseworthy to have sex with a non-Jew in the pursuit of vital national interests. "Our sages of blessed memory elevate such acts of dedication to the top of the pyramid of commandments in Jewish law," Shvat says.

Israel can be destroyed from Internal Threat!

Sizing Up State of Jewish People

As 5773 Dawns, Greatest Threat is From Within

Getty Images

By Stuart E. Eizenstat

There are titanic, 21st century global forces confronting the entire world, but which will have unique impacts on the Jewish people, both in Israel and the Diaspora. Jews, as they have for millennia, will find a way to adapt to them. But the Jewish people face an even greater challenge, one with a less certain outcome: how to combat those internal divisions that are weakening us from the inside.

The world around us is changing in dramatic ways. There is a historic shift of power and influence from the United States and Europe, parts of the world with sizable Jewish populations and shared values, to a new grouping of multiple powers, centered in Asia and the Pacific, especially China. Because the United States has steadfastly promoted global stability, tolerance, growth and freedom, and has been Israel’s greatest champion, anything that weakens America’s influence is a threat to Israel and the Jewish people.

Globalization is another major force that could have a special impact on a Diasporic people who can be found in every corner of the world. The rapid movement of capital, technology, products and people across national borders, powered by the digital revolution, has changed every facet of our lives as profoundly as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press did 500 years ago.

A third major force is the fierce struggle for the direction of the earth’s 1.6 billion Muslims. It is a struggle made even more critical by the Arab revolutions now dotting the Middle East, and by the persistence of a small but murderous group of Islamic terrorists threatening to destabilize moderate Muslim governments and targeting Western influence, including Jews and Israel.

All three of these global phenomena should give Jews pause, but should also not be cause for too much concern.

When it comes to the changes in how international power is distributed, Jews and Israel still have the benefit of having the world’s sole superpower at their backs. The United States remains the pre-eminent nation, a reality that will not be upended anytime soon, particularly as America looks for new revitilizing energy sources, like fracking technology, which could prove to be a game changer in the U.S.’s favor. I would not want to trade places with any other country. All the emerging giants, including China, face daunting challenges of their own.

As for globalization, it should be a major plus for the Jewish people and Israel, creating for the first time a genuinely interdependent world in which Israel is deeply embedded. Success in the 21st century requires ingredients built into the DNA of the Jewish people: education, creativity, adaptability and entrepreneurial skills.

Even when it comes to the Muslim world’s problems, all is not lost. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are slowly implementing reforms and share many strategic interests with the United States and Israel. The new Arab governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia were elected not to impose fundamentalist Sharia law, but to provide noncorrupt governance and to deliver social services, jobs and economic opportunities; this will be their focus. The peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan will survive. Especially since these Arab countries desperately need the economic support of the United States, and Europe, and of Washington-based multilateral institutions, like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The most threatening global force for Israel and the Jewish people is Iran, both through its support for terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and because of its nuclear ambitions. While both Israel and the United States share the same goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, the two allies have different timetables, military capabilities and red lines for a diplomatic settlement. Israel has a narrow window for military action, while the United States can wait longer and has more powerful weapons to attack Iran’s nuclear sites. But for Israel to forestall its own attack, it must have trust that if sanctions and diplomacy fail to stop Iran’s march to a nuclear weapon, the United States will act with all its force to destroy the Iranian nuclear menace. I believe the United States will do so, and it would be far better for any military action to be taken by the United States than by Israel.
Yet with all these challenges, the ones with the greatest chance of weakening the Jewish people are internal.

The American Jewish community of just over 6 million is like an enterprise with two roughly equal divisions. One division consists of people who are vibrant, healthy, engaged and determined to assert their Judaism and pass it along to their children, with more than 750 full-time Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewish day schools educating 200,000 Jewish youth a year. The other is near bankruptcy and is threatening the health of the entire community. Half of all new Jewish marriages are intermarriages and only a small percentage of those non-Jewish spouses convert to Judaism. Membership in Jewish institutions and philanthropy to them is dropping. Birth rates are below replacement levels. European Jews face even more daunting demographic realities, with declining Jewish and soaring Muslim populations. Diaspora Jews have a smorgasbord of lifestyle options; every young Jew will be a Jew by choice, if a Jew at all.

This demands an urgent call to arms. Non-Orthodox rabbis should perform intermarriages if the couple pledges to raise their kids as Jews; community institutions should openly welcome intermarried couples. Jewish education must be given top priority and made more affordable by creating a massive Jewish education endowment fund. The philanthropic effort known as Birthright Israel, which has taken more than 250,000 young Jewish adults to Israel, creating deeper Jewish identification, should be given more support by the Israeli government.

Israel faces its own internal challenges. While the Jewish population of Israel has a healthy birth rate, it is still lower than those of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians. It is unsustainable for a nation of 5.8 million Jews to control the lives of more than 2 million Palestinians in the West Bank against their will. A separation into two states, with strong security guarantees for Israel, is not a gift to the Palestinians; it is an imperative to maintain a democratic, majority Jewish state. And if there is no Palestinian peace partner, Israel should adopt the political version of the Hippocratic Oath: “Do no harm,” by avoiding the expansion of settlements deeper into the West Bank. The Israeli government should make bold proposals for peace, even if they continue to be rejected, so that the onus for any impasse rests on the Palestinians, not on Israel.

A grave internal threat to the rule of law comes from a small, radical, messianic group of settlers who openly defy the authority of the government, building outposts illegal under Israel’s own laws, torching mosques, burning Qurans, poisoning Palestinian olive trees and even attacking Israeli soldiers.

Today, about 50% of Israeli first-graders are either Israeli Arabs or children of Haredi families. Haredim are now about 8% of the population, but this percentage will double over the next several decades because of extraordinarily high birthrates. Since few serve in the military, and the majority is not in the workforce, there is an urgent need to incorporate them into the mainstream of Israeli life, or they will be a great drag on the Israeli economy and cohesion, particularly on Israel’s prized equality for women.

Israel faces another profound internal challenge: the need to be at peace with itself. It is also long past time for Israelis to reach a consensus on basic issues: where they want their ultimate borders to be, and what their relationship should be with their Israeli Arab citizens and the Palestinians over which they rule.

But when we consider the shattered state of world Jewry after World War II and think about how far we have come, there is reason for optimism. The empires that sought to destroy the Jewish people have vanished, but the indestructible, indomitable Jewish people have survived and still thrive, and will continue to make contributions to the world far out of proportion to our small numbers.

Stuart E. Eizenstat was chief domestic policy adviser to President Jimmy Carter, and served various senior positions in the Clinton Administration from 1993-2001. His new book discussing these challenges is “The Future of the Jews: How Global Forces are Impacting on the Jewish People, Israel and its Relationship with the United States” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2012) .