Dr. Ehud (Udi) Levi was Director of the Counter Terrorism and Proliferation Finance Bureau of the Office of the Prime Minister, Government of Israel, as of May 2008.
Levi was awarded a Ph.D with 'Highest Distinction' by the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Bar-Ilan University in Tel Aviv. His dissertation was entitled "Globalization of Radicalism inside Islam Saudi Arabia, The Muslim Brothers and the Development of International Sunni Islamic Terrorism Network 1962-2001."
On 14 December 1999, according to a US Government cable, 'Lt Col Udi Levi of the Counter-Terrorism Bureau' briefed US officials on an operation that killed Eiad Batat and Nader Masalmah, the former of whom, Levi claimed was a senior figure in the Hamas military wing.
Kurtzer meeting and Ramallah raid
Levi accompanied Counter-Terrorism Bureau chief Daniel Arditi to a meeting with US Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer on 1 March 2004. A leaked US cable on the meeting described Levi as "is responsible for financial aspects of terrorism, both at the NSC and for the Mossad."
- Asked by Arditi to brief on GOI efforts to combat terror finance, Levi praised U.S.-Israeli cooperation on this issue, noting that, in his six years of working on terror finance, terror finance cooperation had been the best during the past 12 months. Levi was particularly grateful for the efforts of Treasury DAS Juan Zarate on this front, including at the previous week's multilateral meeting on terror finance in Paris, at which, according to Levi, the GOI had shared a substantial amount of documentation about financial flows. Levi predicted that the European approach would change as a result of these interventions. Meanwhile, he said, the U.S. and Israel are also working closely to find a solution to financial flows from Saudi Arabia. "We're on the right track," he said, forecasting "dramatic and strategic changes" in the coming months.
During the meeting Arditi and Levi claimed that Western Union and the Arab Bank were being used as channel for terror financing. Arditi said that the Israeli Government had not raised this with Western Union, because of the sensitivities of its status as a US companies. The US ambassador registered strong disagreement with an IDF operation the previous week, against five Ramallah branches of the Arab Bank and the Cairo-Amman Bank.
- In this context, Levi asserted that the GOI could prove that every dollar confiscated from the 310 bank accounts had been related to terror. Arditi and Levi also argued that PA Finance Minister Salam Fayyad's inaction when presented in two separate instances in the past with actionable information about Hamas funds justified the GOI raid on the Ramallah banks. Arditi opined that the operation had been "inevitable," although he also noted that PM Sharon had postponed it "time and again" reasons that were not specified.
The Ramallah raid was also the subject of separate meetings reported in a subsequent US cable:
- Udi Levi, the head of Israel's counter-terrorist financing effort at the Israeli NSC and the Mossad, told Embassy econoff on March 3 that the GOI is eager to work with the U.S. and the PA to find less destructive and controversial means of combating terrorist funds. Levi was frustrated, however, by what he perceived as past unwillingness on the part of Fayyad and the PA to take action when given the opportunity. Levi repeated the Shin Bet's assertion that the GOI had attempted to use Fayyad as a conduit for taking action on suspected terrorist accounts during the past year but had been unsuccessful. Despite the past failures of these efforts, Levi said the GOI must explore ways to prevent future incidents like last week, but in a way that is still effective in combating the illicit flow of funds to Palestinian terrorists. Levi said that GOI officials would meet with U.S. and PA officials to explore other options.
Stuart Levey briefing
At a 2005 meeting with US Under-Secretary of State Stuart Levey, Levi named groups which he suggested should be targetted by civil lawsuits:
- Levi called INTERPAL and other European groups that channel funds to Hamas "a problem we do not know how to solve," but added that lawsuits similar to the ones filed against the Arab Bank might help. He suggested that another option to restrict funding would be to prevent INTERPAL from clearing dollar donations through New York. U/S Levey requested additional information on INTERPAL to share with London and details of the bank transfers in the United States.
The US report of the meeting described Levi as Arditi's Advisor for Terrorism Finance.
Contacts with Shurat HaDin
At a meeting with the US Embassy in Tel Aviv in August 2007, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin claimed to be in contact with 'Udi Levy' at the National Security Council and Uzi Beshaya at the Mossad. The report described both as key Embassy contacts on anti-terrorist finance cooperation.
The Israpundit blog cited a report of the meeting by the National Post, which stated:
- Ehud Levi, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence, told a meeting of the Economic Club of Toronto yesterday Islamic radical groups are pumping billions of dollars a year into economies around the world to wage a conflict with the West.
- “But terrorism is only a very small proportion of their strategic plans,” he said.
- “The most important thing for radical Islamic groups is to reach their goals using the civilian infrastructure.”
- They are building schools and creating mosques and Islamic centres that can then be used to propagate their views.
- “Every year radical Islamic groups are sending billions and billions of dollars, from Saudi Arabia and Iran, to build this infrastructure,” he said.
Levi was one of a number of Israeli officials who met with US Treasury Deputy Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Daniel Glaser on 29 July 2008. According, to a US Government cable, Levi, supported by analysts from Mossad and Israeli Defence Intelligence (IDI), called for sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI):
- Later in the day the delegation met exclusively with members of Israel's intelligence community, led by Udi Levi, Director of Israel's National Security Council's (NSC) Counterterrorism Finance Bureau. Levi had brought together several analysts from Mossad and IDI that specifically cover counterterrorism finance issues in regard to Iran. Levi announced to the group that thetime was ripe to act against the CBI. The USG, he said, should designate the CBI, but if that were not an option for political or other reasons, the Israeli intelligence community stands ready to assist the USG in taking any other action possible to hinder the CBI in conducting business.
The meeting also discussed plans for a US-sponsored charity network in Palestine:
- During the afternoon intelligence meeting with Udi Levi, Glaser piqued great interest by Levi regarding the establishment of a USG-Private Sector sponsored charity program. Glaser briefed Levi on the program, the American Charities for Palestine (ACP), founded by Dr. Ziad Asali, president of the American Task force on Palestine, and explained that the mission of the organization would be to raise U.S. private funds and disburse them in the Palestinian Territories through USG-vetted programs on-the-ground. He envisioned that the organization would facilitate a legitimate way for donors to send money to the Palestinian Territories and hopefully provide alternatives to Hamas-led programs. Levi expressed strong interest in the program and noted that he was working with the Gulf countries on a similar concept. Levi noted that if the program becomes operational, it could provide an additional mechanism through which Gulf donors could donate money. Glaser agreed to pursue the issue and keep Levi informed of his progress.
- Media Advisory: Israeli P.M Advisor to Address Economic Club of Toronto, The Economic Club of Toronto, 29 May 2008.
- Dissertation and Supervisor, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, bar-Ilan University, accessed 15 September 2013.
- Israeli Raid Kills Hamas Activists, Us Embassy Tel Aviv, 16 December 1999, released by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
- sraeli Counter-terror Official Defends Ramallah Bank Raids; Expresses Concern Over Western Union Money Transfers, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 3 March 2004, published by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
- http://www.cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=04TELAVIV1392&q=udi-levi Goi Info On Ramallah Bank Raid, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 5 March 2004, published by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
- Israelis Brief U/s Levey On Terror Finance Steps Against Hamas And Hizballah And Views On Pa Welfare Reform, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 18 February 2005, released by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
- Israeli Ngo Sues Terrorists, Ties Up Pa Money, US Embassy Tel Aviv, 30 August 2007, released by Wikileaks, 1 September 2011.
- Peter Goodspeed, Israel Director, “banks beat bombs”, National Post, archived at Israpundit, 30 May 2008.
- Terrorism Finance: Goi Says Now Is The Time To Act Against The Central Bank Of Iran And Increases Its Financial Isolation Of Gaza, Us Embassy Tel Aviv, 8 August 2008, released by Wikileaks, 8 September 2011.