JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday ordered an immediate investigation into Friends of the IDF, an organization which encourages serving Israel Defense Forces personnel to meet with civilians – many of them not even Israeli – and tell stories and anecdotes (also known as intelligence) about their military service.
The premier ordered the investigation after learning that serving IDF personnel, some with personal knowledge of IDF anti-tunnel strategies in Gaza, had revealed potentially confidential information while mingling with over 1,000 potential terrorist supporters in New York last week at the Friends of the IDF annual gala.
“This attempt to gather intelligence on [the IDF] is intolerable and is being taken care of by the relevant parties,” Netanyahu told the cabinet during its weekly meeting on Sunday.
In addition, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon ordered the army to investigate whether classified material had been passed on to members of Friends of the IDF. Ya’alon himself was present at the New York gala, but it is unknown whether he passed on classified material.
A source close to the prime minister said that the gravity of the situation was compounded by the fact that none of the intelligence shared by the serving IDF soldiers with civilians at the event had been cleared by the military censor.
Even worse, according to the source, was the suspicion that large amounts of money had changed hands in return for the intelligence provided by the soldiers. The organization itself put the sum at over $33 million.