Former Israeli intelligence unit 8200 soldiers in the service of the United Arab Emirates
Kehila News, Kehila News Israel Staff, October 17, 2019
In medieval times, when Jews were not permitted to own land, and often lost their earthly possessions due to pogroms, education and knowledge was often the strength of most Jews. Because knowledge is locked in your brain and can never be stolen.
Or can it…?
Is it possible that there are former Israeli intelligence unit 8200 soldiers who now use their knowledge and skills acquired during their service to work for a cyber firm from Abu-Dhabi with strong ties to the United Arab Emirate intelligence service? There is growing evidence that this is the case.
The military unit 8200 (pronounced “eight two-hundred” or “shmone matayim” in Hebrew) is the Israeli military intelligence unit responsible for collecting signal intelligence. In essence, it is the Israeli equivalent of the American NSA. Thousands of soldiers serve in 8200, including a number of Messianic believers. It is rumored to be larger in personnel than the Israeli navy. Unlike its American counterparts, most of the staff of 8200 are 18-21 year old conscript soldiers. The army recruits them from high schools and handpicks recruits with speedy learning. This causes a high turnover rate of active service members.
Many former 8200 soldiers have gone on to founding hi-tech companies and occupying top positions in Silicon Valley and international IT companies. There are a number of former 8200 soldiers also occupying positions within Messianic ministries in Israel.
A newly published article in the Israeli business newspaper TheMarker claims that a few former 8200 soldiers have been recruited by the cyber company “DarkMatter,” established in Abu Dhabi in 2015, working in their office in Cyprus and Singapore. It is not widespread, some estimate that there are only around 20 of them, but rumors say that the Israelis were tempted with salaries of up to $1million a year.
Officially DarkMatter is a private cyber company, limited to cyber defense, but according to a Reuters expose published earlier this year, DarkMatter provides hacking services to the UAE intelligence.
The founder of DarkMatter is Faisal Al Bannai, who also established Axiom Telecom, one of the biggest sellers of mobile phones in the Gulf. He is the son of a general in the UAE army. Reuters reported that he visited Israel a number of times for business.
The Israeli ministry of defense, when approached by TheMarker, refused to comment on specific cases, but stated that if Israeli citizens wish to use or transfer supervised security intellectual property to a foreign entity, whether it is a private company or even a company he owns, it is an activity that is required by law to be done with a sales and export license.