Israelis are getting a huge laugh from a story out of Turkey that read like a scene from a Sacha Baron Cohen film. Apparently Turkish officials have caught and "detained" a bird that they suspect of spying for Israel's Mossad secret service.
The Times of Israel reported that Turkish villagers captured a kestrel, a type of falcon, that they noticed was wearing a tag around its ankle. The tag read “24311 Tel Avivunia Israel", which translates as "University of Tel Aviv". The villagers, presumably reasoning that Mossad would obviously tag a spy bird with the name of the country using it, became suspicious that the bird was a spying device, and took it to officials.
Officials x-rayed the bird, checking for implants, cameras, and other devices that Israel might use to spy on its neighbors. Finding none, they finally released the bird back into the wild.
Apparently, the bird was just one of many that had been tagged by the University of Tel Aviv to observe its migration patterns, something that the Department of Fish and Wildlife in the United States does all the time.
But Israelis have had a lot of fun pointing out the paranoia that its neighbors feel about non-human spies that Israel might deploy. As The Times reported:
"Israeli use of non-human spies is apparently a large concern in the Middle East. In May of 2012, authorities in Ankara dissected a European bee-eater after becoming concerned that it was carrying an Israeli listening device, and in December an eagle with an Israeli tag in Sudan was captured and touted as a Mossad spy. In 2010, an Egyptian official said Israel-controlled sharks could be involved in a number of attacks on tourists in the Red Sea."
Here is America, we just think the headline "Turkey Captures Spy Bird" is funny in and of itself.