Meet Major M., an immigrant from Tehran who’s been helping the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) understand the Islamist regime in Iran. Today he serves as deputy commander of a unit in the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, after having escaped Iran as a child and spent most of his military service combating Israel’s top security threat, Iran (see below).
Major M.’s story and the role he fulfills in IDF Military Intelligence (which can only be sketched in faint detail), illustrate a small part of a “large and still-ongoing pivot that has helped Israel in its diplomatic struggle with Iran, its alleged operations on Iranian soil, its roiling shadow war abroad, and its larger understanding of the changing Middle East.”
It’s a FASCINATING story and although somewhat long, well worth the read.
The Times of Israel | December 17, 2013
The Israeli Intelligence Officer Who Really Knows What The Iranians Are Talking About
The Times of Israel meets Major M., an immigrant from Tehran who has been helping the army understand the Islamist regime, and still hopes to return
By Mitch Ginsburg
When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2005 called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth, an uproar ensued. Had the Iranian president called for genocide — foreshadowing future characterizations of Israel as a germ and a cancer — or had this, as some translators suggested, merely been a poor government rendering of a rather nuanced metaphor, which called more gently for the “occupation regime” to vanish, ever so passively, from the pages of time?
A Talmudic-level discourse ensued. The Guardian’s Jonathan Steele, siding with the co-founder of the Mossadegh Foundation, called the genocidal interpretation “propaganda distortion” that enabled Western hawks to “bracket the Iranian president with Hitler as though he wants to exterminate Jews.” Ethan Bronner of The New York Times, after speaking with translation experts in the US and Iran, ruled that the passive “vanish” was wrong and that, while the word “map” had never been spoken — the quote referred to the pages of time or history — the phrase, in the original Persian, “certainly seems” to contain a similarly destructive intent.