The Shmooze

Mossad Flooded With Applications After Arab Spring

By Nathan Burstein

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Who said the Arab world has something against the Mossad?

A wave of Arab volunteers has asked to join Israel’s spy agency, according to an article published in Sunday’s Yediot Aharanot. Under the headline “They All Want To Be Agents,” the newspaper reports that Israel’s foreign ministry has received “thousands” of e-mails since the start of the Arab Spring, a notable increase in correspondence that has originated mostly in the Arab countries of north Africa — in particular Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco — as well as Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The letters have come through Al Tawasul, the Arabic-language Web site of the Israeli foreign ministry, and have also made requests ranging from employment to loans. Adel Hinou, an Arabic-language spokesman for the ministry, tells the newspaper that the writers have included “important individuals who would never have dared to contact us [previously], such as members of Arab parliaments [and] members of political movements.” Their reasons vary, but included an Iraqi software specialist who cited Israel’s “respect for individual liberties” as his motivation for requesting political asylum.

Other letter writers pursued different agendas, with one asking for a loan to pay his sick father’s medical expenses, and another requesting help so he could meet an Israeli woman he met on Facebook. Some simply want jobs or to study at Israeli universities, while an Egyptian claiming to have invented an agricultural aid said he would turn to Iran if he didn’t hear back from Israel “within five days.”

Hinou says he sends a response to every letter writer, but that “most are polite rejections.”


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