Farsi, Arabic and Hebrew

” Israel kills 2 militants in Gaza – Hamas( 12.24.07)
(I quote)…’Air strike on car traveling near al-Bureij refugee camp kills two Islamist group members, wounds two more’…’Israel has killed more than 20 militants in the past two weeks in increased military action in the coastal territory.” …, see here.

This is the daily (sad) chronicle of belligerence along the Gaza Strip border. As any warfare system, to achieve such precise results, it needs Intelligence.

The Israeli Mossad and Shabak (Hebrew) have a good reputation as intelligence agencies. These everyday clashes between the Hamas and the IDF in the Gaza strip shows how updated or perhaps streaming intelligence, targets in real time the Hamas  men on their way to launching the qassams into Israel.
As a matter of fact, this is a situation where the countries  surrounding Israel, strive to get their own intelligence on Israel.


Ronen Bergman, Israeli security and intelligence analyst, in an Article from  07.31.07, wrote … “The ‘intelligence war’ between Iran and Israel is gaining momentum, as both countries’ intelligence services are increasing efforts to recruit Hebrew and Farsi speakers to their ranks.”..”The Iranian regime needs Hebrew speakers to work as translators, intelligence agents and as part of its propaganda machine against Israel. The main source of Hebrew speakers is Palestinian students studying abroad or Palestinian terrorists sent for military training in Iran and Lebanon.”.. “One of the most prominent centers for Hebrew studies is located at Iran’s embassy in Beirut, where Hezbollah members learn Hebrew at the  Education  Center”, see here, …

“Meanwhile (I quote), Israel’s Mossad  agency on Tuesday published an ad in the country’s largest daily newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, inviting Israelis who speak fluent Farsi to join its ranks. The Persian-speaking Mossad recruits would presumably be responsible for translating intercepted Iranian transmissions and materials published by the regime in Tehran.”…see here, (July 31, 2007).

Now, Egyptian universities do the same, …”More than 10 Egyptian Universities currently offer Hebrew courses, usually as part of Oriental Language faculties that also teach Turkish and Persian.
Two major Egyptian universities, Ain Shams University and al-Azhar University, even boast a separate Hebrew language faculty. This is a major accomplishment, especially in universities that are considered bastions of strong anti-Israel sentiments.”…(12.20.07), see here.

Ain Shams

Other countries, on their official public intelligence  sites, advertise for linguists jobs in the Middle East languages.

The MI6 (UK) is also recruting Linguist Careers in SIS (MI5) (From on 05.06.06) ..”We are currently recruiting linguists with skills in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Chinese.. .”, see here.

The MI5(UK) is also recruting in his language unit…”The Security Service protects our society from terrorist threats. To do so we need to recruit people from all the diverse communities we serve.”…” Arabic (all dialects, particularly North African), Kurdish Central (Kurdi, Sorani),…. Somali, and Persian.”…see here.
The NSA (National Security Agency, USA) is recruting: …” Career Paths in Foreign Language NSA is particularly interested in individuals who are proficient in Asian or Middle Eastern languages. We are looking for those with the following language capabilities Arabic, Persian-Farsi .”,(Among other languages), see here.
…”The FBI (USA) needs  to English-speaking candidates with a professional-level language fluency in, between other languages, Arabic, Farsi , Hebrew, …”, see here.

Today (12.24.07) Ynet publishes an article on  a “Study compiled by US Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)”..that.. “explores several hypothetical scenarios for unconventional warfare in our region… ….”Given certain conditions, Israel could potentially survive such a nuclear scenario, the study found. Iran, on the other hand, would be completely and utterly obliterated. ‘Iranian recovery is not possible in the normal sense of term, though Israeli recovery is theoretically possible in population and economic terms,’ wrote Cordesman, who compiled this study entitled ‘Iran, Israel, and Nuclear War’.”…see here.
This is meanly a future “What if” option study, well organized ,explanatory and frightening, based on know nuclear warfare factors, where  ‘intelligence on the spot’ and direct need of Farsi, Arabic and Hebrew languages is of lesser use , see here for the original study (pdf 2,2MB)
On the other hand, in contrast to the cited report, here is another headline from the “Jerusalem Post”,  ‘PA official: IDF has infiltrated Izzadin Kassam’ (Dec 24, 2007).
..”Israel has managed to infiltrate Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam, by recruiting some of it members as ‘collaborators,’ Palestinian Authority security officials revealed Sunday. “, see here….. Here the direct use of Arabic and Hebrew languages is a necessity, if precise targeting of the moves of man, ammunition and cars is the goal.
It seems that the need  to intensifying the Farsi and Arabic studies, is today beyond question, if one wants streaming ‘Human’ intelligence from inside Iran or any other Islamic threat.
Iz Adin al Qassam
Iz Adin al Qassam. Islamic fundamentalist, , and Gazan folk hero, killed by the British colonial rulers of Palestine in the 1930’s.
As a footnote  I append here on February 10, 2010 it can be said the (targeted..) killing of Iz Adin al Qassam in the 1930’s was already a know procedure by the British Mandate..
As a second footnote it is well worth to remember the article published by the Guardian “Is Iran losing the intelligence war? see here,  from where I quote :
…”An intelligence source suggested that Ardeshire Hassanpour, 44, a nuclear physicist, had been assassinated by Mossad, the Israeli security service….”..see here.
And finally, from the Guardian article …”

…”Since George Bush left office, many people have begun to dismiss the possibility of a US attack against Iran.

Judging by today’s event, the same can not be said about an intelligence war against Iran. Obama is no Bush, but he is no pacifist either. It is possible that he, alongside other allies, is going to rely more and more on intelligence as an alternative to military action. With domestic problems increasing at home, this will disappoint Ayatollah Khamenei, as such operations do not provide him with much needed excuses to try and rally the public around the flag.”…

So “Farsi, Arabic and Hebrew” is a more relevant than ever issue in Middle East affairs.

This story was published on NowPublic here are the comments

flagged this story as Good Stuff at 08:48 on December 25th, 2007

korzac, I never realized that my Hebrew skills were so marketable…but I wont be working for Iranian intelligence anytime soon. Thanks for posting this fascinating story.


at 11:08 on December 25th, 2007

Ryan, it has already been said somewhere, that we are “אור לגויים” (A Ligth Unto the Nations)…
Thanks for the flag.


flagged this story as Good Stuff at 19:14 on December 25th, 2007

Very interesting story, korzac. It had me wondering if there are any “stoppers” that Israelis use to detect foreigners — words that are difficult to pronounce even for fluent speakers. For example, soldiers in the Dominican Republic have asked people they suspect to be illegal Haitian immigrants to repeat the word “perejil” (parsley). It has a Spanish “r” sound different from the Creole equivalent, followed by the guttural “j” (like “ch” in “Bach”),which somewhat resembles the Creole “r”. And a Dutch friend of mine told me that resistance fighters in World War II demanded that suspected German spies say words with the Dutch “g” sound (as in “Van Gogh”).


at 00:05 on December 26th, 2007

denseatoms, about your Dutch friend, I can tell you that he is right. Because my first language is Flemish (the Belgian variant of Dutch) I know the difference in sound when a “g”  is pronounced by a Belgian  and he same “g” as pronounced by a non-Belgians.
As for Israel, the situation is more complicated, because most of us where ‘foreigners’ in the past, when emigrating to Israel  from many countries over the world, so when we speak today Hebrew there are always phonetic reminiscences of our first languages. Phonetic ‘stoppers’ wouldn’t help here…But I suppose there are o