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Israeli Government uses PsyOps on Settlers

This week (January 25, 2005) the Israeli PsyOps division was reassembled after being largely dormant for five years.14
Amos Harel, Haaretz Military Correspondent

PsyOps or Psychological Warfare Operations1 are units of the military2 designed to swing public opinion.  You can think of them as Public Relations persons for the Military.3  They are similar to commercial and political "spin doctors".  Political "spin doctors" put a 'spin' on media events to show their product or political agenda in the most positive light. 

Where PsyOps differ, however, is if the current events are insufficient for their needs they are prepared to create their own 'events'.   Special agents known as 'provocateurs' are trained to blend in with the crowd, dress as civilians, and show up at carefully coordinated times with the camera crews to create a media 'happening'.

Views of GSS Agent Avishai Raviv talking with settler children

The last time Israel was assumed to have organized a PsyOps unit was to help sell the Oslo peace plan to the general public.  The bold plan put forth, for the first time, a two state solution for the Mideast conflict.  It was a wonderful plan to lead to lasting peace in the region.  Former Prime Minister Shimon Peres envisioned economic prosperity for all, even to the point where Israel might become a member of its arch enemy, the Arab League.4

This plan went against years of Israeli government policy and public opinion.  It was a hard sell.  It faced two major obstacles. First, the promised 'peace and understanding' with the Palestinians was never realized. Second, because approximately 10% of the Israeli population lives over the green line,5 a significant percentage of these people would have to be moved. 

The Israeli Government tried its best to put a good face on the Oslo agreement, and among other things assembled a group of the best and brightest in Israeli Public Relations (PR) to work as a branch of the military "PsyOps".

Their first task was to deal with "no promised peace".  Israel fully expected that by withdrawing from Lebanon, allowing the creation of a self governing Palestinian Authority with its own police and security forces, and giving it full control of 98% of the Palestinian population -- it would 'shock the Arab world' into taking a new, positive view of the Israel.  The Palestinians would be happy, Europe and the United Nations would cease to condemn Israel, and Israel would be on the road to living side by side with a friendly Palestinian state.  But this didn't happen.  Suicide bombings began to occur monthly and drive-by shootings increased to almost daily frequency.  Prime Minister Barak who wanted to give 25%, 33%, 50%, 80% and lastly 95%.6 of the West Bank and Gaza was viciously maligned by the Arab press - more so than any previous Israeli PM.  European anti-Israel sentiment reached a zenith, and antisemitism began to reappear after being dormant for years.  Things weren't going as planned.  So then Prime Minister Rabin, respun terrorist victims as 'sacrifices for peace'.  Terrorist attacks went unreported or explained away.  Terror victims were minimally interviewed on the local news, and never on the international news.  The head of the Palestinian Authority, Arafat was made to look a peace loving leader who was diligently fighting terrorism.  A desperate Israel turned a blind eye to the 'education of hatred' and glorification of suicide bombers rampant in the Palestinian schools7 and media8.

GSS Agent Raviv staged a faked 'secret swearing in ceremony' of a imaginary settler terrorist organization "Eyal".

The second task was to deal with 'labeling' the segment of Israeli population which would be need to be relocated as 'outside the national consensus'.  The West Bank and Gaza 'settlers' became 'opponents of peace', 'extremists', and for merely holding on to what had been Israeli government policy for years, they were labeled 'dangerous radicals'.  But names weren't enough, actions were needed.  In one highly publicized event, Israeli secret agent and provocateur, Avishai Raviv, brought in Channel 2 news to film a faked 'secret swearing in ceremony' of a imaginary settler terrorist organization "Eyal".9  Raviv was also instrumental in printing and distributing posters of PM Rabin in a Nazi uniform.10  Raviv looked and acted like a settler, and the public outcry against the settlers reached unprecedented proportions.  The truth is we would never have known that one of the most extreme settlers was really an Israeli secret agent if he hadn't become a good friend of Yigal Amir.  This is the same Yigal Amir who assassinated PM Yitzak Rabin.  Although Raviv originally denied under oath that he was a secret agent, and the government disclaimed any possible linkage between Raviv's incitement and Amir's actions, the Israeli public demanded answers about their connection.  The Shamgar Commission was established and determined publicly that Raviv was indeed an agent and that he had been involved in staging a series of fake 'ultra rightwing' extremist actions.  Charges were brought against Raviv, but in a closed door court session, and under the guise of state security, all charges were eventually dropped.  But much worse than that, the effect of government sponsored 'spin' against a segment of the Israeli population was never measured or explored, and the Israeli public was left with the impression that 'all settlers are extremists'.

Even after the Rabin assassination, the PsyOps continued their work.  It was assumed by many that the "Kill Barak" website.11 was a PsyOps operation to further alienate the public against anyone opposed to advancing the Oslo accords.  It appears that the same webmaster also ran a discussion group at webseers.com12 where for the first time all sorts of 'anonymous' information appeared creating a bizarre conspiracy theory blaming the Rabin assassination on pro-Olso politicians, the Council for Foreign Relations and UFOs.  This conspiracy theory (without the UFOs) gained a lot of attention in the Israeli media and led the Israeli public to think that people opposed to Oslo are nuts.  When this discussion group went offline during Israeli elections, it was assumed that there was a connection.  It is against Israeli law for a government organization to influence elections, so several discussion group members speculated that the PsyOps had taken the discussion group down so that it not appear that they were directly affecting election results.  We don't know.  We probably will never know.

After the Olso agreement turned into the Olso war, there was little indication of PsyOps activity.  Israeli anathematized Arafat.  The official channels began to complain about incitement in Palestinian schools and media.  The world began to see and hear about terrorist victims.13

But when the PM Ariel Sharon resurrected the spirit of Oslo (which is basically an Israeli retreat) in the form of his policy of 'Disengagement', he once again hit a potentially hard sell with the Israeli public.  Normally when a country redraws its borders, the residents remain where they are.  In a bold step, Sharon insists that the Jewish residents of Gaza and portions of the West Bank be expelled.  He has even threatened to use military force against Israeli civilians who wish to remain in their homes in Gaza and the West Bank.  New legislation requiring up to three years in prison for anyone who resists evacuation is being pushed through the Knesset.  Sharon has claimed that by the end of the year 2005, "Gaza will be free of Jews" - a phrase that upset a portion of the Israeli public being reminiscent of phrases used during WWII.  As time past, Sharon hit more and more resistance to his policies. 

This week (January 25, 2005) the PsyOps division was reassembled after being largely dormant for five years.14  When I hear that there is a "truce in Gaza" and "absolute quiet" from the Government and Israeli Media, yet I see from the local news that the mortar attacks and bombings are actually still continuing15 -- it seems to me the PsyOps and spin doctors are hard at work.  When several individual provocateurs (supposably Israeli settlers from Gaza) slash tires and throw rocks at Palestinian Police who sent to keep quiet in the area AND the next day the Israeli papers run the headlines "Settlers destroy peace and quiet in Gaza", as if the settlers are somehow to blame for the subsequent mortar attacks and shellings -- more PsyOps.  When the government decides to evict two families and destroy two caravans in the middle of ten year old village in Yitzhar on the West Bank, provoking a scuffle with the residents AND leading to headlines of "Extremist settlers attack Police and Army" -- It appears to me and many others that the Israeli government staged an event to further its policies.  I am outraged to think of the Israeli government using PsyOps on its own population, and demand a full and complete inquiry.

It is the nature of secret services that we cannot know the full extent of their activities.  But Israeli Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein hinted at its scope when he tried to suppress16 documents attesting to Avishai Raviv role17 as a government paid agent provocateur against its own citizens. He said if the public knew [the truth about the Government actions] it would be a grave danger to public security, faith in the government, and public order.

The ICSC reported to the Knesset that Eyal Arad indeed receives a full time salary from the government to provide strategic services

DAVID BEDEIN, Bureau Chief, Israel Resource News Agency
December 19, 2005

There is an unprecedented consensus of revulsion , across the political spectrum, that the movie MUNICH, produced by Steven Spielberg, represents the ultimate of "moral equivalency", since it equates the "human interest" story of PLO murderers with the human interest of the unarmed Israeli athletes whom they murdered.

This week, it was confirmed news Spielberg has hired Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's aide Eyal Arad17, to promote 'Munich' .

Spielberg would not have been able to hire the chief strategist and media advisor of the Prime Minister of Israel without the clear and express consent of the Prime Minister of Israel.

On May 21st, 2005, the Israel Civil Service Commission reported to the Knesset Israel Government Controls Committee that Arad indeed receives a full time salary from the government of Israel to provide strategic service to the Prime Minister of Israel.

Our news agency has asked the Prime Minister and the Israel Civil
Service Commission to explain how it is that the Israeli government's most senior PR advisor would advocate for the "moral equivalency" message of Israel's adversaries.

The question remains: Does this have anything to do with the fact that Machmud Abbas, the chairman of Fateh and head of the Palestinian Authority, now in negotiation with the government of Israel, was the PLO official who financed the PLO Munich massacre?

Source: "Spielberg hires PM aide to promote 'Munich' - Jerusalem Post December 19, 2005


By Gail Winston, founder of M.E.I.R.,
Mid East Information Resource
October 16, 2005

When an IDF Maj.-Gen Elazar Stern gets pelted with water balloons at the Kotel (Wester Wall), it certainly seems rather suspicious. Who brings water balloons to the Kotel? (1)

How were "over 100 worshipers" in a crowd of "over 5000" 'spontaneously' able to organize into a group to pelt Stern?

Why would "haredi tourists" join the melee? Sterns advocacy of disengagement is not a haredi issue. Any normal tourist would quickly move in the other direction when voices are raised and violence threatens.

What in the world was a film crew from Channel 2 TV doing at the Kotel Friday evening? Did they just happen to be there? Perhaps the cafes were all closed and they went for spiritual rejuvenation at the Western Wall - and they forgot they happened to have their cameras, microphones and staff with them. Or maybe they just wanted to offend worshipers by filming them on the Sabbath?

Stern said that "he felt he was drawn the ire of haredim and religious zealots due to his efforts to change the religious status quo in the IDF." What status quo? Which haredi would be particularly surprised at anything that goes on in the IDF?

It seems Stern has been made into the point man for a number of issues. Stern said quite well himself: "I hope this garbage is taught to understand the limits. We won’t let them destroy the State. WE won’t let anyone prevent us from praying at the Western Wall".

There are always plenty of soldiers at the Western Wall. They are always welcomed. Stern is the first reported case of any solider being harassed . Yet he is quick to generalize "We wont let anyone prevent us from praying at the Western Wall".

This rather strange incident was all too quickly picked up by no less then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon himself who then calls (on Shabbat) the Chief of Staff Dan Halutz, Justice minister Tzippi Livni and Internal Security minister Gideon Ezra and "directs them to do everything to make sure that IDF officers and soldiers are able to pray at the Wall without being attacked by worshipers there", Sharon also instructed them to "do everything possible to arrest those involved in this violence".

Our guess is that Stern is willingly being used to accomplish at least three goals:

1. To break up the Hesder Yeshivas. He has already stated this as his goal. Somehow a staged incident at the Kotel will be used to show that Hesder Yeshivas are bad places where water-balloon flinging is taught.

2. Increase the rate of conversions - without regard to Jewish law. Despite the fact that the vast majority of the 300,000 non-Jews brought to Israel from Russia by the Jewish Agency have no interest in becoming Jewish but are pressured to do so because the government needs to find a solution to its self-created demographic problem.   These Russians view Jews (whom they call Zhids even here) with open contempt, verging into anti-Semitism [note the upsurge in neo-Nazi materials sold here].  Despite the fact that the proud descendants of Cossacks say they don’t want to become Jewish - quicky conversions are still a favored option by the government . Needless to say, haredi authorities point out that these ersatz converts are not Jewish.

3. Reward Stern for his loyalty to Sharon over the disengagement by making him a ‘courageous poster child’ willing to brave water balloons to pray.

How will they toast their success? No doubt over a bottle of cheap "Champagne" from the well-known vineyards of provocation.

Civil War "Talk" Heats Up

Arutz Sheva - Israel National News
February 13, 2005

As tensions over the withdrawal/expulsion plan intensify, talk of a civil war or violence between Jews is also heating up. Some fear another Avishai Raviv-type provocation against the right-wing.

The following items have been noted in recent days:

* A resident of Itamar in Samaria was accused on Friday of having attempted to run over a policeman during a fracas over the deployment of a caravan. Eyewitnesses say that nothing of the sort occurred, other than the fact that a resident didn't stop when told to do so by a policeman. They say that a similar complaint was made two months ago following a confrontation near Yitzhar, also in Samaria; an officer claimed that a resident tried to attack him while soldiers destroyed two empty trailer homes. The case was later closed.

* Voice of Israel Radio devoted considerable time on this morning's shows to discussing the "similarity" between the events of this week and those that preceded Rabin's assassination. The host asked why the police and legal authorities are not doing more to arrest agitators.

* Last week, a group of protestors yelled at Education Minister Limor Livnat, who attended a memorial ceremony for Lechi fighter Ya'ir Stern, for her support for the disengagement plan. Many headlines said she was "attacked," though in fact she was not.

* Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit, a pro-withdrawal Likud member, says he received a letter threatening his family.

* It was widely reported that Chabad youths attacked Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this past Thursday night, threw something at him, and slashed his tires. It was quietly reported afterwards, however, that none of this actually happened. The driver of Netanyahu's car saw that his tire was low on air, but criminal intent is not suspected.

* MK Tzvi Hendel, a resident of Gush Katif, said that the alleged attackers "cause harm not only to our cause, but also to the entire country. But they are only a tiny fraction of the entire populace, and they must be related to in this manner. It's actually the Prime Minister who sees fit to mention Judea, Samaria and Gaza and extremist Kach members in the same breath. A citizen who hears the Prime Minister make such an equation is liable to believe him... I don't see anyone being arrested. I'm beginning to think that this is another case of [Shabak agent-provocateur] Avishai Raviv, and that [these incidents] serve Sharon's ultimate objective of de-legitimizing all of us."

Avishai Raviv (pictured above) is believed to have encouraged Yigal Amir to assassinate Yitzchak Rabin in 1995. Among other evidence, two high school girls said they heard Raviv goad Yigal Amir into assassinating Rabin. Raviv was similarly the driving force behind the fictitious Eyal organization, which "took credit" for attacks against Arabs that never occurred - leading to the ostracizing of the nationalist camp by many.

* Minister Matan Vilnai, who aspires to head the Labor Party, said yesterday, "We have to 'lower the heads' of the extremist inciters. There is no reason that they should sit quietly at home. We must chop off the incitement against public figures immediately."

* The police department plans to grant "immunity" to police officers charged by settlers with undue violence during the expulsion from Gaza. So reports the Yediot Acharonot newspaper today. The report states that the police believe that the settlers plan to "intimidate" policemen from carrying out the evacuation by filing illegitimate complaints charging them with undue violence and the like. The police will therefore not suspend these policemen, in keeping with long-running custom, but will rather investigate the charges even as the policemen continue to carry out their jobs.


1 For a definition see "Psychological Operations/Warfare"

2. A listing by country (except Israel) of various militaries and their PSYOPS units can be found at "Psyop Links"

3. See their capabilities in "Psychological Operations Resources"

4. See a discussion of this quote, and other more realistic evalutions of the future of peace at "The Uncertainties of Peace: Regional Implications of Israeli-Arab Rapprochement"

5. Many Israelis live 'over the green line' in Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem suburbs.  The Gaza and West Bank include about 250,000 Israelis.  Jerusalem suburbs over the green line include about another 300,000 people, although the Israeli government policy has remained quiet on this issue, and most Israelis are not aware where the 'green line' runs through the city of Jerusalem.

6. For a discussion of form President Clintons memoirs on Barak's flexibility and Arafat's intransigence see "Camp David II"

7. See Center for Monitoring Imapact of Peace (EDUME, PA Textbooks)

8. See Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA), Israel Resource Review (IRW, Analysis of Arab Press), Palestinian Media Watch (PMW, Analysis of Arab Press)

9. Most of the documentation of the story has disappeared from the internet but can still be found at "GSS Agent Avishai Raviv and his Israel Broadcasting Authority (IBA) collaborators"..

10. See a fascinated discussion between the Tal Ravina and Dr. Aaron Lerner at "Interview: Rabin Center Spokesman On Photomontage In Website"

11. A counter on the site was registered to a certain Jay Sidman, although the media blamed it on Dr Irving Moskowitz an opponent of Oslo.

12. The site was originally at but it has since been deleted.

13. Several government websites began to post pictures and biographies of the victims, bus 19 destroyed by a suicide bomber went on tour throughout North America to show the utter devastation and horror of suicide bombings.

14. "IDF reviving psychological warfare unit", by Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent, January 25, 2005

15. See "Residents: 'Terror Attempts in Gaza Continue'".  Longtime Gaza resident Datia Yitzchaki says "The ceasefire exists only in the media".

16. See "Court blacks out document on former agent Raviv" by Moshe Reinfeld, Gideon Alon and Ariel Weiss, Ha'aretz Correspondents" and "Publication of Raviv protocol banned" By
Dan Izenberg

17 The document itself and associated issues are discussed at "copy of an Israeli Government document that was forbidden for publication in Israel last night" ( as well as "threats against the webhosting company"

18. Eyal Arad: Coined the phrase 'disengagement.' (Archive/Nir Keidar). Haaretz 04/07/2005. Sharon aide Eyal Arad to oversee PR for disengagement .

19. "IDF’s Manpower Chief Harassed On Shabbat At Kotel" by Arieh O’Sullivan Jerusalem Post 10/16/05

This page was produced by Joseph E. Katz
Middle Eastern Political and Religious History Analyst 
Brooklyn, New York 
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