Lebanese security forces have rounded up 185 people suspected of working for the Mossad since the start of the economic collapse in 2019.
Security sources that spoke with AFP say that 165 of the suspects have been prosecuted, with 25 having been convicted and sentenced. Only three of those arrested had allegedly been working with Israel prior to the crisis.
In August of this year the World Bank released a report calling Lebanon’s crisis “deliberate” and a “Ponzi scheme” perpetrated by the financial elite. The UN previously accused the government and central bank of “human rights violations” for creating the conditions for this crisis.
“This is the first time that so many people have been arrested on charges of collaborating with Israel, and it’s because of the crisis,” one security source told the French news agency, while another called the crisis “a boon for the Israelis, who targeted Lebanese on social media with job advertisements for phony companies.”
Those who accepted the false job offers would then be contacted by Israeli agents posing as recruiters.
But while several detainees soon suspected that they had been contacted by Israeli intelligence, they continued to carry out the work “because they did not have a problem with Israel and hated Hezbollah.”
While the crisis gripping Lebanon is a result of widespread corruption and mismanagement among the financial elite, mainstream media outlets and western-backed groups are known to place the blame for any issue facing Lebanon on the Lebanese resistance and its weapons.
This rhetoric remains prevalent among Christian Lebanese groups, some of whom have recently backed the creation of a neo-fascist militia that is likely to fuel sectarian strife in the country.
Back in September, Israel declassified secret Mossad documents which detailed the level of collaboration between Christian militias and Tel Aviv in Lebanon’s bloody conflicts. According to these, the intelligence agency had a large role in the atrocities carried out by the militias.
The historic number of arrests over the past three years makes evident how Israel has again rushed to benefit from Lebanon’s crises, which have pushed four out of every five citizens into poverty and caused a major wave of migration.
In January of this year alone, security forces disrupted the operations of more than 15 independent Israeli spy rings in Lebanon and arrested up to 100 individuals.