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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Iranians learning Hebrew, Israelis learning Farsi

From YNet:
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 Hizbullah members learn Hebrew at the Islamic Culture and Education Center.

The embassy owns a vast library of Hebrew newspapers and books, including even children's' books. It was there that Hizbullah had trained, with the aid of Palestinians, a large group of fighters who were placed in charge of tapping Israeli communication systems, in a bid to collect intelligence on the "Zionist enemy" before and during the Second Lebanon War.

According to the Shin Bet, Israeli Arab students studying out of the country are an attractive target for Hizbullah, because it is easier for the organization to recruit and train them abroad.

Only recently a young Israeli Arab woman who was studying dentistry in Jordan was arrested at the Allenby Bridge border crossing on suspicion of collaborating with Hizbullah. The woman admitted in her investigation she was contacted by the group's agents in Amman and was offered to serve as its agent in Israel.

Meanwhile, in Israel, the Mossad has recently published an ad in the newspaper inviting Farsi speakers to apply for "an interesting, challenging position," which apparently includes listening in on Iranian transmissions and translating materials published in Iran.

For the rest of us, we have to survive using automated translation tools. Although the only Farsi-English tool I've seen is very poor.