Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s House Cleaner Charged With Spying For Iran; Israeli Couple Detained in Turkey Released and Flown Home

Reprinted from Honest Reporting.

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Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s house cleaner has been accused of spying on him on behalf of Iran, the Shin Bet security service said on Thursday.

According to reports, Omri Goren was arrested after making contact with a person connected with the Islamic Republic, although he is not thought to have given over any valuable information.

The Central District prosecutor filed an indictment against Goren, which charges him with espionage, an offense that carries a sentence of 10 to 15 years.

The accused is said to have got in touch with a “figure affiliated with Iran and offered to help him in different ways, in light of his access to [Gantz’s] home.”

A statement from the Shin Bet explained: “In order to prove his ability and sincerity, Omri took photographs of a number of objects in different parts of the minister’s house, which he sent to the figure, including pictures of the minister’s computer.”

However, the agency stressed Omri did not view any classified materials and no documents were given to his contact before he was arrested.

   

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United States National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan believes an interim agreement with Iran could be implemented to allow more time for nuclear negotiations, it has been reported.

It is claimed that Sullivan was at a “brainstorming” meeting with his Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata when an unnamed representative of a US ally made the suggestion that Iran should suspend unsanctioned nuclear activities, such as enriching uranium to 60 percent, in return for the release of frozen funds or allowing humanitarian goods to enter the country.

However, Hulata is said to have rebuffed the proposal, citing his concern that such an agreement could become permanent and therefore allow Tehran to maintain the nuclear infrastructure it has already built.

Talks on reviving the moribund 2015 nuclear deal are set to resume at the end of this month in Vienna.

Iran’s nuclear activities have now well exceeded the levels allowed under the agreement, with the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency warning that the Islamic Republic has amped up its uranium enrichment program in particular.

   

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An Israeli couple that was jailed in Turkey after being accused of spying has been released and flown back to Israel.

Natali and Mordi Oaknin, both Egged bus drivers living in Modi’in, were detained by Turkish authorities last week after they were spotted taking a photograph of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s palace in Istanbul.

They and a Turkish friend who was accompanying them were arrested in a move that sparked nine days of intense negotiations between Jerusalem and Ankara to secure their freedom.

Mossad chief David Barnea is said to have played a key role by convincing his Turkish counterpart that the couple has no connection to Israeli intelligence.

“After joint efforts with Turkey, Mordi and Natali Oaknin were released from custody prison and are on their way home to Israel,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a joint statement, adding: ”[We] thanked the President of Turkey and his government for their cooperation and look forward to welcoming the couple back home.”

   

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Israeli President Isaac Herzog and Chinese leader Xi Jinping made history on Wednesday when they spoke by phone in what is the first such call between presidents of the two countries.

They are said to have had a warm conversation in which they invited each other to visit their respective nations and discussed the 2022 anniversary that marks 30 years since Israel and China established diplomatic ties.

Xi also commented on the fact that Herzog’s father Chaim also made history when he became the first Israeli president to visit China.

It is claimed they discussed a joint wish to see more Israel-China cooperation initiatives in the future, while Herzog raised the threat of Iran’s nuclear activities to stability in the Middle East.

Next week, Herzog will visit the United Kingdom where he is scheduled to hold talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson and attend an event being held in honor of the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

“I look forward to meeting Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Members of Parliament and discussing the many ways our dynamic, pioneering nations can take the lead in the fight against climate change and Iran’s nuclear program, as well on national security, cybersecurity, the fight against antisemitism, and trade,” a statement from Herzog said.

   

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New lie-detecting technology that was developed in Israel can spot falsehoods with a 73 percent accuracy rate, an initial study into its effectiveness suggests.

The high-sensitivity method measures the movement of facial muscles which apparently contract when a person is saying something they know to be untrue.

The study was led by Professor Yael Hanein of Tel Aviv University’s Center of Nanoscience and School of Electrical Engineering and Professor Dino Levy from the Coller School of Management, who measured the eyebrow and cheek movements of two groups of “liars.” 

It is thought the technology could be used for developing video software that could be used to detect lies.

“Existing lie detectors are so unreliable that their results are not admissible as evidence in courts of law — because just about anyone can learn how to control their pulse and deceive the machine,” said Levy.

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