חשיפה: המועמד שהפסיד במירוץ לראשות השב”כ הוא אסף יריב, כיום בשירות המוסד
For the past two years, there has been essentially a two-man race to succeed the current Shin Bet chief, Yoram Cohen. Though Israeli media could not identify the candidates except by their initials, in 2013 I reported them as Roni Alsheikh (nickname, “The Fox”) and Nadav Argaman (nickname, “The Consigliere”). But a strange thing happened on the way to the face-off: Alsheikh dropped out of the running when he took the country’s top job in the national police. That left Argaman as the last man standing.
But to make it a competition, Netanyahu added a new contender, whose name also can’t be published in Israel. According to a confidential Israeli security source he is Assaf Yariv, who was the agency’s regional chief in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Since then he has been “lent” to the Mossad for [unspecified] counter-terrorism missions.
When Alsheikh had been facing off against Argaman, the beef against the latter had been that he’d never served in the job that is considered by many to be the most critical in both the Shabak: running agents and interrogating suspects. Instead, Argaman had served as chief of operations. He’d helped plan and execute missions, managed and developed technology needed to complete jobs. He’s led the counter-espionage unit attempting to uncover spies in Israel and the Territories. He would’ve also attempted to track foreign diplomats and intelligence agents working out of foreign embassies in Israel. He’d also served as the top Israeli security official for North America, working out of the Israeli UN Mission. His diplomatic cover was as a “counselor,” hence the nickname “Consigliere.” But of course, there is a distinct Mafia echo in the term as well, which is quite apt for the agency.
The agency’s “old hands” scoffed at this background being sufficient to be top man. Yaakov Perry, ex-Shabak chief and agent who ran spies, even wrote a scathing attack on Alsheikh without naming him explicitly.
Nevertheless, Argaman has prevailed. My source told me that among the responsibilities he fulfilled as deputy chief (his most previous role), was directing targeted assassinations. So for example, it is Argaman who is guilty of murdering Ahmed Jabari. I thought that was a reprehensible act for two reasons: first, Jabari had negotiated for the release of Gilad Shalit; and second, there was a ceasefire in effect at the time. I suspect that Argaman may see himself yet in the dock at the Hague. Of course, Jabari had blood on his hands. But from my vantage, the color of the blood on Jabari’s hands is no redder than the blood on Argaman’s.
Of course the Shabak ultimately has a hopeless job. It is responsible for crushing an entire nation, destroying its will to resist Israeli Occupation. It is responsible for preventing Palestinian resistance. It is using violence, murder, and torture to achieve a goal which may only be achieved by political and diplomatic means. That is why, ultimately it must fail. I believe that an intelligent Mossad or Shabak agent knows this in his heart. But he goes through the motions of fulfilling the demands of the political echelon for Palestinian heads to mount on pikes to show the people it is doing something. One helluva job…
Among the oddities in Haaretz’s reporting this story is a bit of self-censorship. The Israeli Hebrew language press freely reports that Argaman did his IDF service in Sayeret Matkal, or Special Forces. But this is how Amos Harel describes it: “He did his military service in an anonymous elite unit…” Well, no he didn’t. And everyone in Israel knows where he served. So what gives? We know all about far more secret postings from Argaman’s career, so why try to hide a post that goes back to the early 1980s?
Bibi: Arab States are “Beasts of Prey”
Finally, I wanted to highlight an extraordinary speech Bibi delivered yesterday at a security barrier separating Israel from Jordan (a country with which Israel has had no security breaches for decades). He argued that Israel must be entirely encircled by fences, not just the current ones separating it from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Gaza. Bibi envisioned Israel fully cloaked in barbed wire and steel to, as he put it, stop the “beasts of prey” (i.e. the neighboring Arab states) from attacking.
This astonishing turn of phrase has been reported is a few media outlets, but not received the play it should. In the NY Times, Isabel Kershner typically mistranslated the phrase Bibi used (hayot teref) as “predators.” A predator may be any sort of living thing, including a human being. But hayot teref may not be human. They are wild beasts which prey on the weak of the animal kingdom, tearing them limb from limb. Or, to use Yeats’ phrase, “ravening beasts.”
Netanyahu lets loose yet another disgusting Arabophobic statement revealing him to be a brutal racist demagogue and world media yawn as if they’ve seen it all before.
While we’re talking about outrages, let’s give a shout-out to Likud MK, Anat Berko, who declaimed before the Knesset plenum that there cannot be a “Palestine” because there is no letter “P” in Arabic. Not to be outdone, she’s come up with a new outrage: all Knesset members and staff, despite holding legal immunity from such things, must be thoroughly searched on their entrance to the Knesset because some members might “conceal knives” and introduce a wave of terror to Israel’s legislature.
Now, you know which ones she’s targeting, don’t you? Not Bibi or Naftali for sure. But if my name was Ahmad or Haneen, I’d be careful. Oberkommando Berko, holding a PhD in criminology and specializing in the study of Muslim terror, is gunning for you!
H/t Iris Bar.