Israel Honors Security Agency that Helped Nab Teen Killers, Stop Hundreds of Attacks

President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu at ceremony for ISA outstanding employees, Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO)

The Israel Security Agency (ISA) recently made the news for their role in apprehending two suspects believed to have murdered 18-year-old Dvir Sorek in a stabbing terror attack. But behind the scenes, they’ve been responsible for preventing hundreds of other terror attacks from even taking place. “You caught Dvir’s murderer within 48 hours,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday at an award ceremony for ISA employees. “…You work night and day for the well-being of our citizens. In the past year, you thwarted over 600 terrorist attacks. This was a counter-terrorist action of immense scope. We are doing everything to cut off terrorism at its outset.”

Netanyahu, whose comments were published by his office, thanked the ISA for their role in catching Sorek and noted he had “great confidence” Israel was going to catch the teen killers. “This is what you have done in recent years; all murderers, without exception, have been apprehended,” said Netanyahu to the ISA award winners. “In every case in which vicious murderers have cut down innocent Israeli lives, it has not taken much time for us to find them.”

The ceremony awarded certificates of distinction to 15 ISA employees, and summaries of their work published in another Israeli press release showed a range of counter-terrorism talents. While specifics and full names were kept secret due to the covert nature of the ISA and its activities, among those honored were a director in the field of technological intelligence, codenamed “I”. A mother of three, she has shown leadership at the ISA by guiding her branch to “significant achievements in the fields of intelligence and counter-terrorism for dealing with terrorist threats, particularly ‘lone wolf’ and Islamic State activists,” the press release noted.

The so-called “lone wolf” threats—individual terrorists without obvious connections to a terror organization—are a complex phenomenon to address, but “I” has used technological intelligence and cyber to battle the threat. She’s also proud of her decision to pursue her career in the security of Israel that started as a 13-year-old’s dream.

“As a 13-year-old girl, the age of my daughter is now, I had a dream to work for the ISA. I did not really understand what it meant, but from that moment on, I did everything to achieve that goal,” she was quoted in the press release as saying. “Today, after 16 years in the ISA, as a mature and aware woman, I return to the same girl and tell her: despite the difficulties, the sacrifices and the challenges, you made the right choice!”

Other award recipients included “T”, who works in covert counterterrorism against foreign cyber threats, and “E”, who has led combat teams in “a variety of complex missions, demonstrating creativity, out-of-the-box thinking and exceptional courage.” The press release said the operations led by “E” have given Israel a “great deal of highly valuable material” that assisted with the infiltration of terrorist organizations and ultimately stopped those terror groups from striking Israelis.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also thanked the award winners for their efforts in apprehending the killers of Dvir Sorek. “Their quick capture is one of a long line of achievements in countering terrorism. Together, they reflect the breadth and depth of your efforts, day in and day out, to ensure our security—the security of Israeli citizens,” Rivlin was quoted in the press release as saying. “Thank you, personally and on behalf of all the citizens of Israel for the security your work gives us.”

As for the ISA employees themselves, their work is award-enough according to “I”. She said, “There is no greater satisfaction than protecting the security of the citizens of Israel, thwarting terrorist attacks and feeling that you have an impact on people, processes, systems and methods.

“We come from different areas of activity but we all have a common denominator: the joy of doing, the spark in our the eyes, the commitment to the task, the desire to give of ourselves, to learn, to influence and to lead.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, August 12, 2019)

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