My husband and I just returned from The Ultimate Mossad Mission to Israel sponsored by Shurat Ha Din. Although I have been to Israel many times, this one in particular piqued my interest and it did not disappoint. It was one of the most interesting trips I have ever experienced, not simply because of the venues and locations that we were privileged to visit, but also because of the many workshops and lectures that we were able to attend.
We stood only kilometers away from every border and saw Hezbollah flags waving in the distance in the North. We visited Kibbutz Misgav Am, a front line kibbutz on the Lebanese border, where we heard what life was like prior to the last Lebanon War. At Kibbutz Alumim less than 4 km from Gaza we witnessed the spot last week where a jeep was blown up by an incendiary balloon. At Black Arrow, the site of a paratrooper peace memorial only 1/2 mile from the Gaza border, we stood at the precise spot where just days ago a rocket was fired that targeted a bus with 50 IDF soldiers. Thankfully no one was killed but there was one injury. We saw the fire-ready kites made from scraps of children's textbooks and laced with gasoline and charcoal that are destroying thousands of Israeli farms.
We heard from former Mossad agents, IDF officers, former heads of Counter Terror and Counter Intelligence Divisions in the "Shabak", as well as from the Israeli Security Agency. We toured Military Bases including Machaneh Ofer, a Military Court, where Palestinian terrorist trials are conducted and we were briefed by the Chief Justice of the Juvenile Military Court. Dr Udi Levy, former Mossad agent, spoke about the importance of combating economic warfare against international radical Islam.
The highlight of the trip was being introduced to and hearing from Nitsana Darshan Leitner, founder of Shurat Ha Din (translation: Letter of the Law) who wrote the book "Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism's Money Masters." Harpoon was a top secret program created by legendary Mossad boss Meir Dagan with the approval of Ariel Sharon to direct spies to follow the money and to destroy the financial institutions that funded terrorist organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah and others. Shurat Ha Din came into being roughly 17 years ago when Nitsana and a few other lawyers formed an NGO (non governmental organization) known as the Israel Law Center. With the help of Israeli intelligence and western intelligence agencies they have been successful in suing and collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from terrorist groups and governments on behalf of the families of victims. With a budget of only 3 million dollars per year, they were able to secure over 1 billion dollars worth of judgments against sponsors of terror and have frozen more than 600 million dollars in terror assets. Some of their recent achievements include filing a lawsuit for 400 million shekels against the terrorists who murdered five members of the Fogel family in Itamar in 2011. They recently obtained a $178,500,000 US Court Judgment against Iran and Syria for their backing of Hamas on behalf of the family of 3 month old Chaya Braun, who was killed by a Hamas terrorist in October 2014 in a terrible car ramming attack.
Because finding Iranian assets that can be seized is difficult, judgments can take years before an actual payout is satisfied. That being said, these lawsuits send a clear message to the sponsors of terrorism that there is a steep price to pay for the financing of terrorism. Due to the continued work of Shurat HaDin, victims of terrorism and their families have received more than 250 million dollars in compensatory damage from terror assets. They have had success in suing major banks, such as the Arab Bank, to get them to curtail their laundering activities. Suffice it to say that Shurat Ha Din is fighting pro BDS organizations in the courts and to date they have filed lawsuits against Facebook, Google and Twitter on behalf of victims of terror.
My take away from this mission is that terrorism must be fought at all costs not only on the battlefields but in the courtrooms. Shurat Ha Din is an organization that has restored my faith in this fight. From this trip and the speakers we heard, I have learned that following the money is an essential part of fighting terror. It is an absolute requirement not only in protecting Israel but in helping terror victims around the world. Shurat Ha Din is a unique NGO that is doing amazing work. I would encourage our entire community to become more familiar with Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and her work and to support Shurat Ha Din. All donations to Shurat HaDin are tax deductible!