Every few weeks, we're hit by the headline: Terror attack against Israelis targets is thwarted. What changes is the target — Thailand, India and Georgia at the start of the year, Turkey in the spring and Kenya just last month were replaced Saturday by Cyprus. A Hezbollah operative was arrested while gathering intelligence on Israel targets.
The media, eager to report, swamps us with the details, some more accurate than others, That's the way it goes when the local authorities are reluctant to release details, and the "foreign intelligence agency" that volunteered the information lurks in the shadows. Only its name — Mossad according to reports in Cyprus (anyway, it always sounds more impressive in English) — leaves a trail of fog in its wake, like something out of an old detective movie.
Usually behind these headlines, for all spy agencies, lies painstaking intelligence work involving collecting information, tracking suspects and scrutinizing the intelligence, and principally international cooperation that culminates in actually being able to put a hand on "the Lebanese with the Swedish passport" who's planning an attack. The man-hours, extensive efforts, links and resources invested in thwarting this attack or any other on Israelis will never be published. And it doesn't matter whether the attack was scuttled at the intelligence-gathering stage or seconds before it was about to be carried out — the bottom line is that yesterday, we could check off another thwarted attack.
Officially, Israel was quick to pin the blame for this attempted attack on Iran, as part of a direct line that connects axis-of-evil-nuclear-terror, via the ayatollahs and Hezbollah, to terrorists around the world. It's possible that the Prime Minister's Office knows something about who sent the attacker to Limassol, who equipped him and briefed him, but even when the link is particularly shaky we will never miss an opportunity to push Iran into a corner.
International efforts may be working, but in Israel we are growing comfortably numb. For most Israelis, the thwarted attack in Cyprus passed almost unnoticed — just another headline about another terrorist who failed to carry out another attack. On the whole, this is a healthy approach that enables us to live a normal life, safe in the knowledge that people out there are working hard to foil the attacks.
Nonetheless, we should show a little more responsibility, both as civilians and tourists when acknowledging these threats; often, it could be what makes the difference when it comes to getting home safely.