In the Middle East, Modernity Comes From the Barrel of a Gun. Or a Laptop.

by Lee Smith
June 30, 2014

UNIT 8200

A Unit 8200 networking event in Tel Aviv shows why Israel has won and the Arabs have lost

…..Unit 8200 is frequently described as Israel’s equivalent of the National Security Agency. Drawn from the cream of the crop of the country’s teenagers, the unit provides Israel with her first line of defense against her enemies. They are also allegedly responsible for many of the country’s hard-charging offensive cyber operations, like disabling Syria’s air defense system before the IAF bombed the Al Kibar nuclear facilities in 2007. Anyone looking to hire grads from the “Unit,” as members refer to the outfit, is probably also familiar with its most famous export—Stuxnet, the computer worm that set back Iran’s nuclear weapons program by reportedly ruining a fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.

How do Israelis become part of this group of elite warriors? “We can identify young people at a very early age,” said Israel’s former ambassador to the United States Michael Oren. “Then we fast track them into these genius units.”

The prime physical specimens in attendance, the kinds of beautiful Israelis you see in the bars and on the beaches of Tel Aviv, were the women tending bar and the security guys in blue short-sleeved jackets. By contrast, the 8200 grads mostly looked like the kind of people you’d expect to see ambushing Leonard Nimoy at a Star Trek convention.


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