Israel is an expert when dealing with Iran, so after Tehran cyberattacked a predominantly Muslim country in Europe, Israel is ready to help. That was the message from Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid to visiting Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama on Sunday in Jerusalem. “Iran is a shared threat to both Israel and Albania,” Lapid told Rama in comments published by Israel. “We saw this during the recent Iranian cyberattacks against Albania. Israel will assist as much as possible in the effort against Iran. We see this as a national interest and an historical obligation.”
For Israel’s assistance, the press release said Lapid proposed to Rama that the nations “cooperate in the field of cyber in order to strengthen their defensive capabilities against” the Iranian threat. The statement said the two leaders discussed “strengthening” the countries’ bilateral ties and “overcoming common challenges faced by the two countries, with an emphasis on the Iranian threat.”
That threat became all too real for Albania earlier this year. An Iranian-sponsored attack on Albania’s government systems in July was followed by another attack in September, which Politico reported was also carried out by Iran. The July incident was so serious, Politico cited Rama as saying they considered implementing the NATO defense treaty to force an international confrontation with Iran, but decided against it. The attack led to United States’ sanctions on Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) in September.
The US State Department, in a press release on the sanctions, noted that “Iran’s cyberattacks targeting civilian government services and critical infrastructure sectors can cause grave damage to these services and disregard norms of responsible peacetime state behavior in cyberspace.”
The US noted that Iran’s cyberthreats dates to at least 2007, with the Iranian MOIS and its proxies engaging in “malicious cyber operations targeting a range of government and private-sector organizations across various critical infrastructure sectors.”
Iran’s international reach has already led to plots—and in some cases, lethal attacks—in the US, South America, Europe, Turkey, and more. That makes it all the more important that Israel and other friendly nations work together to counter the threat.
In the case of Albania, Lapid noted there is another reason to cooperate and help. During World War II, Albanians supported Jews escaping the Holocaust. “Albania has a special place in Jewish history,” said Lapid on Sunday. “The values and principles of the Albanian people led its citizens to risk their lives in order to save Jews during the Holocaust. They gave them shelter and found ways to smuggle them away from the Nazis. We will never forget those who stood by our side.”
Today, the evil behind the Holocaust remains another threat in the form of antisemitism, and the Israel press release said the two leaders “agreed on the importance of the fight against antisemitism.”
Said Lapid during the meeting with Rama, “You have been a true friend of Israel for decades.”
And what do friends do? They help each other. Especially when facing Iran.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 23, 2022)