Dan's Feed
Feb 17, 2013

Netanyahu backs Israel’s spies as Australian mystery simmers

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed on Sunday for the public spotlight on Israel’s Mossad spy agency to be turned off after news of the jailhouse suicide of a reported Australian recruit.

The affair was kept under wraps for two years until it emerged last week with an Australian television expose that identified the dead man as 34-year-old Ben Zygier, a possible Mossad operative detained on suspicion of security offences.

Feb 15, 2013

Mystery Australian’s next-of-kin seek compensation from Israel

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Relatives of an Australian immigrant to Israel who killed himself in 2010 while secretly jailed on charges of violating national security are seeking compensation from the state, a source briefed on the affair said on Friday.

The source said the talks were preliminary as Israel had not formally faulted its prison authorities in the death of Ben Zygier, which was made public this week by an Australian television expose that described him as a Mossad officer.

Feb 14, 2013

Spy suicide scandal focuses attention on Israel’s foreign Jews

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The jailhouse suicide of an Australian immigrant who may have betrayed Israel’s Mossad has focused attention on the agency’s recruitment of foreign-born Jews who could spy under cover of their native passports.

After a three-year blackout was broken by an Australian TV expose, Israel on Wednesday acknowledged that a dual national had committed suicide in prison where he had been kept isolated in the name of state security.

Feb 14, 2013

Israel publishes some details as Australian spy mystery deepens

JERUSALEM/CANBERRA (Reuters) – Israel broke its official silence on Wednesday over the reported suicide in jail of an Australian immigrant recruited to its spy service Mossad, giving limited details about a closely guarded case that has raised questions in Israel and Australia.

In an apparent reversal on previous statements, Australia’s foreign minister said on Thursday his ministry had known about the man’s jailing in Israel as early as February 2010. On Wednesday he said Australian diplomats in Israel only knew about the detention after his death in custody later that year.

Feb 13, 2013

Israel publishes some details in Australian spy mystery

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel broke its official silence on Wednesday over the reported suicide in jail of an Australian immigrant recruited to its spy service Mossad, giving limited details on a closely guarded case.

After appeals by local media chafing at Israeli censorship of a story broken by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), a district court near Tel Aviv allowed publication of six paragraphs of sanctioned text – a de-facto preliminary account by the state.

Feb 12, 2013

U.S. envoy reassures Israel on Iran ahead of Obama visit

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – A U.S. official sought to reassure Israel this week on President Barack Obama’s determination to curb Iran’s disputed nuclear program, as the clock ticks on a threatened Israeli pre-emptive strike.

The visit by Rose Gottemoeller, acting U.S. undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, was seen by her Israeli hosts as part of an effort to smooth the way for Obama’s spring trip to the region, in which the Iranian issue will loom large.

Feb 9, 2013

Israel’s Lieberman says Palestinian peace accord impossible

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has no chance of signing a permanent peace accord with the Palestinians and should instead seek a long-term interim deal, the most powerful political partner of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.

The remarks by Avigdor Lieberman, an ultranationalist whose joint party list with Netanyahu narrowly won a January 22 election while centrist challengers made surprise gains, seemed designed to dampen expectations at home and abroad of fresh peacemaking.

Feb 1, 2013

Israeli silence on Syria is strategic

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Military secrets are not readily divulged anywhere. But in Israel the blanket silence that envelops officials after an event like Wednesday’s mysterious air strike on Syria reflects a deeper strategy involving both deterrence and outreach.

Beyond customary concern to safeguard spies and tactics for a government currently engaged in a graver confrontation with Iran, Israelis see such reticence as allowing their foes to save face and thus reduce the risk of reprisal and escalation.

Jan 30, 2013

Israel to give Palestinians $100 million in withheld funds

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel will give Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s administration around $100 million in tax revenues that had been withheld in retaliation for his statehood bid in the United Nations, Israeli officials said on Wednesday.

They described the handover as a one-time deal, signaling rightist Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not formally scrapped sanctions that have hurt the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank and worried world powers.

Jan 29, 2013

Israel worrying about fate of Syria’s conventional arsenal

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Syria’s advanced conventional weapons would represent as much of a threat to Israel as its chemical arms should they fall into the hands of Syrian rebel forces or Hezbollah guerrillas, Israeli sources said on Tuesday.

Such concerns suggest that Israel, which has signaled heightened readiness over the last week to react militarily if it thinks Damascus is losing control of its chemical arsenal, could also intervene over Syria’s Russian-supplied missiles.