Israel and Greece Sign Strategic Agreement


Iran-Contra Ricochets in Jerusalem

by Roy Tov

Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes

Certain names are pronounced while lowering the voice so that the state-agent sitting at the nearest table won’t hear them. A good example in this category is Aviem Sella, even his website is half-hidden.

Other times, the issue is so sensitive that the relevant names are not pronounced directly, instead a harmless code is adopted: “Shalom who? Oh, the husband of the wife of …”

On May 29, 2013, Silvan Shalom met the Greek Foreign Affairs Minister in Jerusalem. Shalom who?

Iran-Contra Ricochets

Even if knowing only her name, Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes sticks out. She uses three surnames. Mozes belongs to her father; that makes her one of the owners of Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s largest paid newspaper, and one of the richest persons in Israel. Shalom, refers to her current husband, the abovementioned Silvan Shalom. Nir refers to Amiram Nir, her first husband and one of the dark stars in the Iran-Contra Affair.

Special journalist Ronen Bergman, featured yesterday in this website, published in 2008 that Nir, acting as Counter-Terrorism Adviser to the Israeli Prime Minister, had briefed Vice President Bush on this affair. During his election campaign in 1988, Bush denied any knowledge of the Iran–Contra affair. Nir could have incriminated the incoming President; he was killed in a mysterious chartered airplane crash in Mexico in December 1988.

Nir is often presented in Hebrew media as a journalist, other times as a security expert of unclear past. The very simple truth, his being a senior agent of Israel’s most prestigious intelligence agency is never pronounced aloud. You never know who is the person drinking coffee next to you, and you never, but never, mention publicly persons that have ashamed the State.

Shalom who?

Silvan Shalom married the triple-surnamed lady and became the richest politician in Israel overnight. He ignored the painful verbal ricochets that made fun of his allowing his noble bride to keep that string of words attached to her short name. The attached money made easy to forget the shame of being linked to Amram Nir. Shhhh, don’t say that name!

Silvan Shalom
Oil & Gas Production in Nontechnical Language

Married to a rich princess owning the largest newspaper in the country, Shalom’s political career became a refreshing Mediterranean breeze. Member of Netanyahu’s Likud part, he was a senior minister in various governments, fulfilling the roles of Minister of Science & Technology, Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vice Prime Minister, Minister for Regional Development and Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee. In the current government, he is the Minister of Energy and Water. This is a strategic post, especially since the discovery of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Fields. His most recent achievement on the topic included an agreement with Spain, a European gas-thirsty country.

Listening to Shalom who? is tiring. Being sentenced to eternal boredom is better than listening to a five-minutes speech from him. Yet, make no mistake; he deals with strategic issues. Whatever he is dealing with, it is considered essential. He has no choice, after all at home he competes against the shadow of Amiram Nir. Shhhh….

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Go on, I don’t care about that…

Those following the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Fields section know that Israel got rich. New gas fields are being discovered regularly in the Eastern Mediterranean. If Israel can secure its military control on them, then it has solved all its energy problems for many decades and would became a major exporter. This led to the creation of new regional alliances, with the key Israeli points being the buying of much of Cyprus by Israel, and the USA securing itself a commission on the entire harvest.

Eastern Mediterranean Gas Fields

The relations between Greece and Israel had been always tricky; traditionally, Greece sided with Palestine. Gas thirsty, Greece changed attitude last year. In the first week of April 2012, Israel, the United States and Greece conducted the “Noble Dina” drill on the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea. Led by the U.S. Sixth Fleet, Noble Dina involves simulations of combat against submarines, air battles and protection of offshore natural gas platforms. This happened shortly after in February Israel and Cyprus consolidated a military alliance aimed at securing control of the large gas fields recently discovered in the seabed between the two countries. Turkey, Lebanon, and Northern Cyprus had consolidated a counterweight alliance. Greece—a leading world player in oil transport—took sides.

The new love-affair advanced steadily, with a new peak having been reached on May 29, when the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos met Silvan Shalom in Jerusalem. He didn’t do that for the joy of listening to his speeches; he materialized the new alliance. Shalom requested from Greece to act in order to enter Hezbollah in the list of the European Union terror organizations, and clarified that Israel will not negotiate with Palestine, unless the latter agrees to unconditioned talks. “Go on, I don’t care about that,” was the spirit of the minister’s answer.

After this was clarified, two agreements were achieved. One deals with the creation of a regional emergency network capable of dealing with large disasters. The 2010 Carmel Fire showed the entire world that Israel is not ready for such an event. Since then, Israel is looking for partners. “OK, OK, what else,” urged the new friend. The most strategic agreement reached concerned the connection between the Israeli, Cypriot, and Greek electric networks; this could be linked also to other, unnamed, European countries.

This is a strategic agreement sealing an alliance between the two. As often happens with Shalom who? affairs, it was kept far from the headlines. In the Fine Print of Israeli Hebrew, this means major news. “Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes will be so proud,” Shalom said.

* Aviem Sella was the Israeli handler of Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli spy within the American Naval Intelligence. Sella was a pilot who participated in the Six-Day War, the Yom Kippur War, Commanded Operation Opera (the air strike against the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981) and was a commanding officer in Operation Mole Cricket 19 during the 1982 Lebanon War. While a graduate student in New York, Sella recruited Jonathan Pollard. After the affair exploded, Pollard’s Israeli handlers were granted immunity from prosecution in the United States in exchange for cooperation. Unluckily for Sella, his role was unknown to the Americans; thus he was not included in the immunity deal (even now, not all the players have been mapped by the Americans). When he was discovered, Israel refused to extradite Sella for questioning. In March 1987, he was indicted in absentia on three counts of espionage, and in June 1990, he was declared a fugitive from justice. Israel answer was daring. Sella was promoted to brigadier general and given command of the Tel Nof Airbase, a key IDF base. Due to the tensions caused between the governments, Sella stepped down voluntarily. Sella is in trouble with the USA, even on the most prosaic levels. His website doesn’t appear in a basic Google search. As far as I know, it is the only Israeli site registered with an address in Hebrew characters that doesn’t have a secondary one in Roman characters. As a doubtful service to him, here is his actual picture and a link to his site. Yet, Sella’s troubles are loose change compared with Pollard’s fate.


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Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards. In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.