We Israelis didn’t even know it, but according to some, on both sides of the great turbulence lately sweeping across the Arab world, the underlying cause of all the havoc is – as ever – Israel.The assorted hoaxes share persistent common denominators – Israel’s long hand stirs the Arab pot, manipulates the naïve Arab masses and stage-manages their current melodramas.From the side of the beleaguered rulers, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh last week conjured images of a nefarious command center in Tel Aviv that orchestrates the varied Arab riots. The demonstrators, according to what Saleh contended when addressing students and academics at Sanaa University, are Israel’s lackeys, “who do its bidding and who serve Zionist purposes.”Saleh’s allegations were unexpected, as he’s considered pro-American and relatively accommodating in the battle against al-Qaida. The recipient of hefty US military aid, Saleh indeed reconsidered and phoned the White House to apologize for a “misunderstanding.”But his harangues before the cameras belie his excuses.As hundreds of thousands marched in Yemen’s streets clamoring for his ouster, Saleh was evidently attempting to besmirch his opponents as traitors in cahoots with the enemy, which, axiomatically in the Arab setting, just had to be Israel.“I am going to reveal a secret,” Saleh repeatedly intoned to his audience. “There is an operations headquarters in Tel Aviv which oversees the aim of destabilizing the Arab world. The operations room is in Tel Aviv, and it is run by the White House.”Saleh’s fanciful theories can easily compete with the classic canards that have emanated from the Arab world in the past, among them the bald-faced assertions that it was Israel which engineered and executed the 9/11 attacks, that Israel poisoned Yasser Arafat or that the US Air Force colluded with Israel in 1967. We may dismiss the falsehoods as absurd cock-and-bull stories, but the multitudes who fall for them throughout the Muslim/Arab realm frame them in a more sinister context.ANOTHER ACCUSATION hurled at Israel last week was that the same Tel Aviv nerve center, which purportedly kick-started the extensive Arab uprisings, was also slyly plotting against the dissenters. Thus Al- Jazeera professed to divulge the identity of the co-conspirators who have ostensibly enabled Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi to unleash mercenaries against his own population.Here are some of the highlights from Al-Jazeera’s “revelations,” in turn eagerly picked up by Iran’s Press TV online, about Israel’s machinations: “Israeli arms distribution company Global CST has, under the authorization of Tel Aviv, provided Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi with African mercenaries to clamp down on anti-government protesters. Egyptian sources have revealed that the Israeli company has so far provided Gaddafi’s regime with 50,000 African mercenaries to attack the civilian anti-government protesters in Libya.“The arms company was previously convicted in an African country over illegal deals. Sources say Global CST had obtained the permission for providing the mercenaries to Gaddafi from the Israeli officials in advance.“Earlier, Global CST general manager had met with the head of the Israeli Intelligence Agencies (Aman) and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and obtained the permission for the measure. The company representatives also met with Abdullah Sanusi, the head of Libyan Internal Intelligence, in Chad to discuss the details for a final agreement.”The question of why Israel would even remotely contemplate aiding a sworn enemy like Gaddafi is never addressed. Tainting anyone with suspected Israeli associations suffices to cast him beyond the pale.THIS PREMISE of Israel as the ubiquitous bogeyman is the most worrisome aspect of the tall-tales, amusing as we ourselves may be tempted to consider them.Lies trigger dynamics and take on lives of their own.If nurtured, they grow, multiply and spawn untold ramifications.Lies bind and enslave. Spurious grievances confine and scourge those they ensnare. Real freedom – the real freedom so many in the Arab world so plainly seek – is predicated on enlightenment, not benighted deception.