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Israeli officials reiterate: Israel does not spy on U.S.

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — Senior Israeli officials insisted that Israel does not spy on the United States in the wake of a second Newsweek article accusing Israel of “aggressive spying” against the U.S.

Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel’s Channel 10 over the weekend that someone is trying to ruin the cooperation between Israel and the United States by providing such information. The later article appeared Thursday; the first came out two days earlier.

Former Israeli Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin on Saturday night called the accusations “absolutely baseless,” telling Channel 2 that “Israel is unequivocally not spying in the U.S.”

Newsweek reported that while then-Vice President Al Gore was on a visit to Israel in 1998, an Israeli spy hid in the air duct in his hotel bathroom. The article said that such incidents are not widely known because the aggressor is Israel.

An unnamed U.S. official quoted in the article rejected the assertion that the espionage accusations “had the whiff of anti-Semitism in it.”

“It has nothing to do with anti-Semitism,” the official said. “It has only to do with why [Israel] gets kid-glove treatment when, if it was Japan doing it or India doing it at this level, it would be outrageous.”

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