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Posted on on December 23rd, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (



Senior Israeli officials have demanded an end to US spying on Israel. (photo: James Emery)
Senior Israeli officials have demanded an end to US spying on Israel. (photo: James Emery)

Israelis Demand End to US Spying.

By Associated Press

22 December 2013


enior Israeli officials on Sunday demanded an end to U.S. spying on Israel, following revelations that the National Security Agency intercepted emails from the offices of the country’s top former leaders.

It was the first time that Israeli officials have expressed anger since details of U.S. spying on Israel began to trickle out in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The scandal also spurred renewed calls for the release of Jonathan Pollard, a former American intelligence analyst who has been imprisoned in the U.S. for nearly three decades for spying on behalf of Israel.

“This thing is not legitimate,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel Radio. He called for both countries to enter an agreement regarding espionage.

“It’s quite embarrassing between countries who are allies,” Tourism Minister Uzi Landau said. “It’s this moment more than any other moment that Jonathan Pollard [should] be released.”

Documents leaked by Snowden and published in The Guardian, Der Spiegel and The New York Times last week revealed that British intelligence agency GCHQ worked with the NSA from 2008 to 2011 to target email addresses belonging to the offices of then-serving Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Amir Dan, a spokesman for Olmert, played down the revelations. He said the email address targeted was one meant for queries from the public and was not used for sensitive communications. “There is no chance there was a security or intelligence breach caused from this email address,” Dan said.

Barak could not immediately be reached for comment.

But top Israeli officials work on the assumption that they are being monitored. Officials use special secure lines for certain types of communications, and for the most sensitive matters, issues are discussed only face to face in secure rooms.

Even so, Israeli officials reacted with uncharacteristic anger toward the U.S., Israel’s closest and most important ally.

Lawmaker Nachman Shai, a member of the parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee, which deals with intelligence matters, called for an urgent intelligence briefing on the reported spying.

Shai called for a “full report about what we know, what we have done, and just to find out.”

He added that he was “really surprised that my government, which is very easily responsive on any given issue, on this we keep silent, which is not the right policy and right behavior.”

Espionage is a sensitive subject between Israel and the U.S. because of the Pollard affair.

Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst, was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for passing classified material to Israel. Israeli leaders frequently call for his release and say his nearly three decades in prison are punishment enough, but stiff opposition from the American military and intelligence community has deterred a string of American presidents from releasing him.

Since Pollard’s conviction, Israel has promised not to spy on the U.S. Ministers stressed Sunday that Israel does not spy on the U.S. president or defense secretary. “I think we should expect the same relations from the U.S.,” Steinitz said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a more subdued reaction, saying that Israel continues to press for the convicted spy’s release.

“This is not conditional and not connected to the latest events, even though we gave our opinion about these developments,” Netanyahu told his Cabinet, presumably referring to the reported U.S. spying.



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+5 # RMDC 2013-12-22 17:31

Israel is the one nation that I think we should be spying on. Israel is creating most of the problems in the middle east and Africa.Many have been calling on Israel to stop its occupation of Palestine for a very long time. It has ignored the calls.

So Israel says it does not spy on the US president or secretary of Defense. Of course not. The Israelis don’t need to. they write the talking points for the president and Sec of Def,

+4 # John S. Browne 2013-12-22 19:26

Well, this is one of the biggest pieces of hypocrisy that I’ve heard in a while. The Israeli govern- ment constantly spies on the U.S., knowing that the U.S. government is also spying on them, and the latter lets them get away their spying on the U.S.; and they have the gall to call on the U.S. government to stop spying on them?! Please!! They’ve both been spying on eachother for at least sixty-five, probably more like one hundred or more, years; and, with the advent of computers, more sophisticated computers, and increasing technology, it has only expanded over the decades. Hell, the Israeli government has stolen U.S. secrets, and the U.S. government has let them get away with that as well.Then you add in the evidence that Mossad agents were caught in New Jersey across the harbor from New York City, observing and literally celebrating the collapse of the two World Trade Center Towers, obviously having, at the very least, advance knowledge that the 9-11 was going to happen, were kept jailed for only three months, were then released and granted return to Israel, bragged about it on Israeli TV, and were allowed to get away with that, also!! Clearly this is an insane world, isn’t it?!


+2 # John S. Browne 2013-12-22 19:28

The Israeli government, or factions of same, were involved in perpetrating 9-11, and the U.S. government gives them a pass, as the U.S. government has done for many years about many things, including the Israeli government and military’s unprovoked attack on the U.S. naval vessel, the U.S.S. Liberty; but we’re not supposed to question any of this. Heck, the “dancing Israelis” point to the fact that the U.S. government, or factions thereof, were also involved in 9-11, but we’re just supposed to ignore the truth.
+3 # MidwesTom 2013-12-22 21:17

We should demand to see the missing 28 pages for m the 9/11 report. They detail the involvement of foreign governments.
-1 # BobboMax 2013-12-22 21:45

“They’ve both been spying on each other for at least seventy, probably more like one hundred or more, years”Israel was founded in 1947.

0 # John S. Browne 2013-12-22 22:51

Officially, yes, but the Jews were there and seeking to take that land back over quite a while before that.
+6 # Agricanto 2013-12-22 20:55

Israel should let Mordechai Vanunu live in any country he chooses and they can have Pollard. The heroic person who provided evidence of Israel’s nuclear weapons stockpile should be able to live where he wants and not kept under a house arrest that means he’s cannot leave Israel. The Mossad abducted him and took him to Israel where he was imprisoned.Pollard sold secrets that weakened the United States with respect to one country, Israel. Vanunu revealed the truth about a nuclear Middle East that is central to the saber rattling over Iran. Vanunu is a hero, Pollard is a snake.

-3 # Rick Levy 2013-12-22 22:28

“Heck, the “dancing Israelis” point to the fact that the U.S. government, or factions thereof, were also involved in 9-11, but we’re just supposed to ignore the truth.”Why can’t you moronic anti-Semites get your stories straight? You are conflating this myth with the actual incidence of Muslims dancing in the streets after the Boston Marathon terrorist attack. See…

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