NZ concerned about Mossad passport forgery
Wednesday 20 Jul 2011 5:09 p.m.
New Zealand intelligence services went into action to protect the country from passport fraud after considering the behaviour of young Israeli tourists to be suspicious.
Security services suspected Israeli national Ofer Mizrahi, who was killed in the Christchurch earthquake in February, may have been a Bodel - a young Israeli employed to get passports by Mossad, also known as a ‘bonedigger’.
It wasn't the case, as Mr Mizrahi was found with only two passports, both his own and both legitimate.
Former Mossad case officer Victor Ostrovsky says Kiwi passports are highly desirable because they're perfect for an agent looking to slip under the radar.
“Who knows anything about New Zealand?” he says. “When you carry that passport you can say anything you want about anything, and you have a perfect cover.”
Passport theft puts every New Zealander in danger, especially now during the Arab uprising, when Mr Ostrovsky says being from New Zealand indicates you could be a Mossad member.
“Someone says ‘Where are you from?’ and you say you're from New Zealand - they say ‘That's a Mossad’… and before you know it you’re being lynched.”
Passport theft has happened here before – in 2004 two suspected Mossad agents attempting to obtain a false passport were picked up by police.
Eli Cara and Uri Zoshe Kelman were fined $500,000 and sentenced to six months in prison, although they only served half the sentence.
Israel later apologised and diplomatic relations have resumed under National.
In Australia relations are more tense – last year Australia expelled an Israeli diplomat, saying Israel was behind the forging of Australian passports linked to the assassination of a Hamas operative in Dubai.
The United Kingdom was caught out in the same incident and also expelled a diplomat, in retaliation for the use of 12 fake British passports in the plot.
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