Arabs offer to join Mossad

By Nathan Jeffay, September 27, 2011

The Arab Spring has brought Israel a flurry of complimentary correspondence from across the Middle East, according to its Foreign Ministry.

The ministry, which is controlled by Yisrael Beiteinu - often described as an anti-Arab party - is keen to sway opinion towards Israel in the Arab world, and runs a website, as well as Facebook and Twitter accounts, in Arabic.

Since the Arab Spring began, there has been a spike in correspondence. While some is critical, thousands have made contact with words of praise, requests for asylum, questions about the possibility of visiting, and even offers to serve in the army and Mossad. Some requests have come from Arab politicians and officials.

"Supposed enemies are looking to us and seeing and saying: 'It seems like a nice place to live,'" said ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson.

He added: "It is illustrative of the fact that across the Middle East there are people who hold Israel in far higher regard than is presumed."

The ministry released the text of some of the messages to the Yehiot Ahronot newspaper on Monday. Dawoud, a computer technician from Iraq, wrote in a request for political asylum that in the Middle East, Israel is "the only country that respects personal freedom". An Iranian man who would like to move to Israel described the country's citizens as "the strongest and most cultured in the region".

Bar Ilan University academic Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli expert in politics of the Arab world, said he was unsurprised by the revelation, recalling that at the start of the Arab Spring he saw pictures of a Syrian demonstration where a banner read "we wish Israel would occupy us".

Last updated: 2:14pm, September 27 2011