Photo Credit: IDF Spokesperson's Office
Lotem-C4i leads the IDF's cyber battlefront, deflecting threats to Israel's security. 2014

( Israel’s Foreign Ministry last month decided to establish a special command to combat anti-Israel incitement on social media, according to a Sunday morning release by Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely. Apparently, the Finance Ministry has approved a budget for the new outfit, which understands the importance of the new endeavor, in light of the current wave of Arab terrorism.

The special command, acting under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry’s Hasbara (public relations) Dept., will be comprised of a team of about ten members who specialize in both Arabic and advanced technologies, with priority is given to recruiting from among graduates of the IDF 8200 unit.


Unit 8200 is an IDF Intelligence Corps unit responsible for collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption. It was established in 1952, using surplus American military equipment. The unit has developed a great reputation for effectiveness in intelligence gathering, including operating a massive global spy network. Several alumni of 8200 have gone on to establish leading Israeli IT companies, including Check Point, ICQ, Palo Alto Networks, NICE, AudioCodes, Gilat, Leadspace, EZchip, Onavo, Singular and CyberArk.

The Foreign Ministry prefers 8200 unit graduates because the new command’s main focus will be to combat incitement on social networks and websites in Arabic. The new command’s staff will work regularly with the largest multinational companies, providing the Foreign Ministry for the first time with a dedicated operation in this area.

According to the ministry’s statement, the new command will focus on three areas: finding videos with inflammatory content and issuing complaints to the relevant websites; developing to flag keywords such as “Jewish” and “knife” in Arabic and other languages, ​​to increase the range of detection; and distributing the Foreign Ministry’s informational materials in Arabic and other languages, in response to hate propaganda circulating online.

A week ago, Hotoveli visited the US and met with executives at Google, YouTube and other companies in the field to increase their cooperation with the Foreign Ministry in fighting incitement. Her office reported Sunday morning that “The daily terrorist attacks in Israel are the result of youths and children being incited over the social networks, ours is a daily war against incitement that can’t be carried out without a central body that would coordinate the work opposite the social networks. The Foreign Ministry has been dealing with this issue all along and it’s now to provide a fundamental response to the problem.”

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