ISRAELI counter-terrorism expert Boaz Ganor says the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which comprises Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Canada and the US, would be stronger with Israel as a member.
In an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper today, Ganor said Israel had proven itself as a “major intelligence player in the Middle East and elsewhere”.
“Its intelligence services have thwarted countless potential terror attacks and hostile military operations, and in recent years shared high-quality intelligence with many countries’ security services, the Five Eyes included,” he wrote.
“That intelligence has helped thwart terror attacks and subversive activities in those countries.
“It would be prudent to consider having Israel join this arrangement.”
Ganor noted, however, that despite Israel proving the intelligence it gathers is often relevant to the safety of many Western countries, there could be “resistance” to the proposal.
“Doubts may rise out of the bilateral relationships some of the alliance’s members have with Iran or the lack of a visible solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which may deter some alliance members from accepting Israel,” he said.
“With this in mind, a solution might be that the Five Eyes could expand by recruiting other states — including Israel — into the alliance with the status of observers, a second ring of nations that are not full-fledged members but can contribute and benefit from an intelligence co-operation on matters of common interest.”
Ganor is founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and the Ronald S. Lauder chair in counter-terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Centre at Herzliya, Israel.