Israeli target of Iranian killers remains undeterred

Owen Alterman

Senior Correspondent of i24NEWS English Channel | @owenalterman

3 min read
Police officers stand guard at the Unknown Soldier Tomb memorial in Tbilisi, Georgia.
VANO SHLAMOV / AFPPolice officers stand guard at the Unknown Soldier Tomb memorial in Tbilisi, Georgia.

'I see myself as a soldier for my country. I am not changing a single thing in my activism'

Georgia - a beautiful country, generally peaceful and safe, which is why it came as such a jolt when Iranian-hired assassins tried to kill Itsik Moshe, an Israeli activist living there.

"At first it's a shock to hear that someone wanted to murder you at the entrance to your office,” Moshe told i24NEWS. “But, a few minutes later, I took hold of myself and said: We don't have the luxury of being afraid"

The news broke last week – that Georgian security services foiled a plot to kill Moshe. Iran's Revolutionary Guards apparently hired foreign assassins - some linked to Al Qaeda - to target him.

For Moshe, what was particularly shocking about the news was how close the assassins came. 

“It’s not pleasant. Especially the description of the terrorist saying he was at the entrance to my office and twice planned to slit my throat. Because he said he was told he had to commit this murder in public," he explained.

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Moshe has lived in Georgia for years. In the 1990s, he led efforts to bring immigrants to Israel from the former Soviet Union. Now, he runs the Israeli House organization, involved in pro-Israel advocacy and public diplomacy. 

This latest attempt is not the first time he has been targeted. He was unaware of another attempt one year ago. 

"According to the investigation, from September they were following me, in a vehicle, on a motorcycle, when I go into the office, when I leave the office. I'm only now just finding out because I acted in a routine way. And, it turns out, he didn't succeed; he tried twice."

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The attempted assassinations, however, have not deterred him. He’s continuing his daily routine. 

“I'm not afraid because it's important to me to convey that I'm not afraid. Of course, I'm a human being, and this is not a pleasant situation, that I come to my office every day and have to think to myself that the Pakistani terrorist wanted to butcher me," he said.

"But that doesn't make me afraid. I must not be afraid, and Israelis around the world must not be afraid.”

Moshe said the Georgian government, the Georgian public, and the Georgian media have been supportive. And he's not letting up.

"I see myself as a soldier on the battlefield, a soldier for my country. I am not changing a single thing in my activism."

“Today we have a very strong State of Israel, and we're able to act. We're able to act inside Israel, and we're able to act outside the State of Israel through a million Israelis who are in the field." 

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