February 1 2017 — The most pressing threat to Israel is not Iran, but rather the increased polarization within Israeli society, former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo said in a rare public appearance since leaving office. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today.
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UPDATE (June 7 2021) — In an extraordinary statement Saturday, the head of the Shin Bet internal security service Nadav Argaman warned of rising incitement and hate speech on social media, and the danger that it will spark political violence, as the coalition that aims to oust incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears increasingly likely to be sworn in.
“We have recently identified a serious rise and radicalization in violent and inciting discourse, specifically on social media.”
“This discourse may be interpreted among certain groups or individuals as one that allows violent and illegal activity and could even lead to harm to individuals.”
“It is our duty to come out with a clear and decisive call for an immediate cessation of the inciting and violent speech. The responsibility for restraining the discourse rests on the shoulders of us all.”
Netanyahu has declared that the new government endangers the Land of Israel, the State of Israel, and the Israel Defense Forces.
The leaders of the right-wing Yamina party Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked have come under intense attacks from others on the right for their decision to join the so-called “change government,” and have had their security increased due to the potential threats to their safety.
The Shin Bet said its unit that protects the top officials of the state, Unit 730, had placed a security detail around Naftali Bennett, the coalition-to-be’s first prime minister.
END of UPDATE
Pardo said that:
“There is no outside existential threat to Israel, the only real existential threat is internal division.”
“Internal division can lead us to civil war – we are already on a path toward that. If a society crosses a certain line in its division and hatred, it is a real possibility to see a phenomenon like a civil war.”
“Society at large bears responsibility to prevent these divisions, not just the leadership.”
During the event, Pardo criticized both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Defense Ministry. ( Pardo participated in Operation Entebbe during which his commanding officer Yonatan “Yoni” Netanyahu — the elder brother to current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — was killed.)
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly hailed improved diplomatic relations with moderate Arab countries in the region, Pardo stated that:
“Without a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we will never be able to achieve normalization with our Arab neighbors.”
The Defense Ministry has compared the deal between the six world powers and Iran to curb Tehran’s nuclear program with the 1938 Munich agreement that allowed Nazi Germany to annex portions of Czechoslovakia.
Pardo does not appear to agree.
“You can’t compare squash and grapes. What happened a century ago is different from what is occurring today. History does not repeat itself.”
Tamir Pardo on Balancing Liberty and Security
From the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on May 3, 2016, “ISIS, Israel, and Spymasters: A Reality Check” featuring a conversation between Michael Morell, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Tamir Pardo, former Director of the Mossad. The event was moderated by Belfer Center Director Graham Allison.
“We have to preserve, I think, our democracy and be ready even to pay quite a high price for that. I think it’s better to suffer from their, let’s say, behavior, than to ruin our own society and the things that we believe in.”
Ex Mossad chief: Israel’s biggest threat is potential civil war, not Iran — ARIEL WHITMAN, REUTERS
Former MOSSAD Chief: “Israel’s biggest threat is potential civil war, not Iran.” [Shin Bet Boss: “Stop violent discourse now, someone will get hurt.”]