Ben Gurion U Develops New Personality Profiling Method to Utilize Against Hamas


ben-gurion-universityBy Anav Silverman

The ability to understand the minds of political leaders is an important aspect of strategic intelligence. In this context, personality profiling is a common practice that has traditionally relied on the expertise and intuition of human psychologists, according to researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU).

However, BGU professors of psychology, Yair Neuman, Golan Shahar and programmer Yochai Cohen are introducing a novel computer-supported methodology for personality profiling which will be published in the American Intelligence Journal. The methodology aims to help stakeholders better understand strategic competitors and allies for both rationally and for psychologically managing their policy. The professors cited the current conflict with Hamas as a prime example.

“If we characterize Khaled Mashal as someone with a psychopathic personality, then we would expect him to feel omnipotent, fearless, to perceive others (particularly Israel) as weak and vulnerable, and that his relationships revolve around games of ‘predator-prey.’ A man like that won’t be significantly affected by injury to innocent citizens or the destruction of infrastructure because he lacks the ability to empathize. He will manipulate and defraud in the pursuit of his own personal interest. In this case, any attempt to simulate empathy, or to try and appeal to his emotions is a strategy doomed to fail,” explained Professor Neuman.

“These insights are highly important in understanding the personality and planning a campaign against it,” added Neuman.

Mashal is one Hamas leader-turned tycoon who has amassed a fortune worth $2.6 billion, among other Hamas leaders who have made millions from the flourishing tunnel industry and fundraising as the unemployment rate in Gaza stands at 40% and Gazans suffer in poverty. In addition, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has capital worth $4 million and has arranged for family members including his sons and daughters to live in beautiful homes in the Gaza Strip, worth at least $1 million each. During the recent war, media reports surfaced of Khaled Mashal living a lavish lifestyle out of a luxury hotel in Qatar.

The ability to understand one’s enemy is an important card in any battle. Psychologists have been building personality profiles of leaders for years, explain BGU experts.

“The CIA built a personality profile of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein which explained to the Bush Administration that what they attributed to a lack of rationality actually derived from the Middle Eastern rationale of ‘showing off’. In other words, so long as the leader is not defeated once and for all or publicly humiliated, the entire struggle with the US, even if it comes at a catastrophic price to his fighters and citizens, will be perceived as a victory and a symbol of masculinity.”

“This conclusion offers a clear lesson for the current struggle against Hamas as well,” concluded Neuman.

Tazpit News Agency

{ Israel}


  1. Did you want a perceived personality profile on Mr. Mashal?

    I would suggest that from my educated point of view, he is conspicuous and hateful yet has the rhyme to idealize the enemy of his own planning by reforming his own hate against the demand of better living. This is a criminal of course, but he is more scrupulous. He hides in the limited experience of other people so that he can be turned into a higher “lion” for “freedom” which is really transient rancid lies. Ultimately, I do not know his fate, but I should think that his days are not just numbered, but his eye sight will be turned down into a spiral just like Hitler became a monster to his own monster’s phantom. This is a criminal who has no reason to keep his eye in the world other than he wants to rule winning hopes of his “people” by staging defeat after defeat in light of being able to win “Victory after victory” in the eye of a lost candle of hate against the excess of violent pasts. Namely, he thinks that if there is any public opinion on his side, the years will be more terror filled and he can go to bed laughing at his own shadow.

    Make it sweet and short, Khaled Mashal needs to be brought to justice through any measures necessary. This war will not be entirely conclusive until this type of terrorist can be prosecuted, hung or just left in a black cell for the perpetuity of his life.

    And the candle in our eye is Torah.

    Goodbye Mashall. You are death on your own fortune.

    Never Again.

  2. The CIA profile of Saddam Hussein was done by Dr. Jerrold M. Post, M.D. (“The Psychological Assessment of Political Leaders,” 2003:The University of Michigan, ISBN0-472-09838-1). Interestingly Jerry profiled Bill CLinton in the same book.

    I’m glad to see the Israelis developing this methodology. I tried to do it in the US in the 2000s while I as with the DoD (with help from the Israeli Military and academia), but got no traction.

    I hope it works.