Musta'ribeen, Israel's agents who pose as Palestinians
Date Written: 18/12/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Musta'ribeen, or mista'arvim in Hebrew, is a word that is derived from the Arabic "musta'rib", or one that is specialised in Arabic language and culture. In Israeli security terms, the word denotes security forces who disguise themselves as Arabs and carry out missions in the heart of Palestinian societies or other Arab countries.
"The first musta'ribeen unit was established in 1942 before the state of Israel came into being until 1950," Shalhat said. "This unit was part of the Palmach, an elite division of the Haganah militia, which went on to later become the core of the Israeli army."
Not much is known about these agents because they operate in secret, he added. The Israeli army dissolves these units once their work is found out, and forms new ones to take their place.
"The agents must speak Arabic as if it is their mother tongue," Shalhat said. "They undergo courses to master Palestinian dialects and Arabic accents according to which Arab country they operate in, such as Yemen or Tunisia."
These courses take between four to six months and include how to master customs and religious practices, such as fasting and praying.
The agents use makeup and wigs to complete their disguise but are chosen according to how similar their physical features are to Arab countenances.
In total, the training can take up to 15 months, and consists of operational field work such as driving and sniping, how to move around in crowded Palestinian settings, and arms training.
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