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September 27, 2016 2:25 pm

Israeli Strategic Affairs Official: Jewish State Shifting From Defense to Offense in Fight Against Delegitimization

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Interview
Retired IDF Brig. Gen. Sima Vaknin-Gil, now the director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Retired IDF Brig. Gen. Sima Vaknin-Gil, now the director general of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Jewish state is shifting from defense to offense in the fight against delegitimization, a high-level Israeli government official told The Algemeiner.

Speaking with The Algemeiner on the sidelines of the National Israeli-American Council Conference in Washington, DC on Sunday, Sima Vaknin-Gil —  director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs — said the government was using information-gathering as a means to help it thwart the activities of anti-Israel individuals and groups around the world.

Vaknin-Gil — a retired IDF brigadier general, who served as the chief military censor between 2005 and 2015 — told The Algemeiner, “The government has defined delegitimization as one of the three main threats facing Israel that must be dealt with. While this is a threat that is not critical right now, if you take a long-term look, you see this as one that could develop.”

During the past year, Israel  began implementing a $26 million plan to combat delegitimization efforts — of which the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is one component.

Vaknin-Gil said her ministry, led by Likud minister Gilad Erdan, “sets strategy, puts activities into motion and cooperates with different organizations, both in Israel and abroad. We build the tools and infrastructure to combat delegitimization. The idea was to bring everything under one tent, rather than everyone operating independently.”

“The job of the ministry is to make sure the entire system is working to accomplish the mission in an effective manner,” she continued.

Vaknin-Gil warned that 2017 is expected to be a “very problematic” year, due to the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Six-Day War — after which Israel took control of the West Bank from Jordan; the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt; and the Golan Heights from Syria — and the 100th anniversary of the issuing of the Balfour Declaration, in which the United Kingdom announced its support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

“These dates are going to be used to intensify anti-Israel activities,” Vaknin-Gil said. “So we are now preparing a plan to handle this. We must be ready.”

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