Nowhere else in the world, with the exception of a few dictatorships, does the "security community" refer not to those who deal with security and defense, command divisions or conduct secret wars inside the enemy borders, but rather to a holy place. A holy place where there are people who hand down infrequent religious rulings, rulings that have received the approval of those who preceded them. A place where the holy scriptures are of the thickness of a battle order and the rites consist of winks and thin smiles understood only by the initiates, and of a few sentences that the public, the entire public, must recite devoutly and hum as a mantra. Just as in any ashram.
As distinct from other religious orders, service in the Israeli security and defense order is limited in time but those who are part of it live forever, as long as the gurus accept its rules. These are simple and easy rules, in fact just one key rule: It is permitted to piss inside the ashram - even on one another, but it is forbidden to piss from outside into the ashram.
This rule has been broken by three top gurus, who could have swung censers wafting fragrant incense around the altar of security and defense in the ashram forever and could also have been given a place of honor on the state's board of directors. Instead, they mistakenly thought that their former status allowed them to damage the holy of holies. Former national security advisor Uzi Arad, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan and former Shin Bet security services head Yuval Diskin did not invent the Order of Security Saints. But they lived well by its rules and enjoyed the pristine white robe with the blue ritual fringes granted to every archbishop of flawless image - so much so that even prime ministers and government ministers feared to contradict them. And the public? Is there a single believer who wants to question the pope's authority? God's power? The sanctity of the security community? They know, after all, the deepest secrets and they have definitely devoted their lives for the sake of the collective. But as in the case of every priest, their greatness lay in their success in commanding the public of believers to listen and obey unquestioningly.
In this too they cannot be blamed for inventing the wheel. The submissive kneeling before the icon of security is a rite that has accompanied the state since its establishment. Around it the culture of threat and persecution has been expertly cultivated. Indeed one cannot be a real citizen without worshipping in the security temple.
Arad, Dagan and Diskin are utterly familiar with the mores in the Temple. Hence the astonishment at their grave stumble when they believed that they could establish an alternative ashram. That long and glorious service was sufficient for them to open a branch to compete with the official temple.
Suddenly it became clear to them that bombing Iran would be a historical mistake. Suddenly the curtain was drawn aside and it turned out that Israel is no less guilty than the Palestinians of causing the peace process to fail and in the beams of a dazzling lamp Arad illuminated the crooked alleys of the decision-making process in the Prime Minister's Office.
But all this pales beside the terrible danger that what they say will crush the relationship between the official temple and its believers. And indeed the storm that raged around their statements, especially Diskin's, is not so much about what they said. Yes, bomb Iran or no, don't bomb Iran; yes or no to shattering the strategy Israel built for itself around the image of Iran as an irrational state; yes or no to whether it is Israel that is to blame for the failure of he talks with the Palestinians. This is not what the critics are worked up about. For this we have unshakeable canonical discourse and no one will succeed in confusing us with the facts.
Rather, the outcry arose because of who did the talking or more correctly because of the betrayal of the order and the damage to the messiahs. In an effort to patch up the damage the personal files were immediately pulled out. Diskin wanted to be head of the Mossad and they didn't let him. Arad has a short fuse and quarreled with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the context of powers and responsibilities. They haven't found anything yet on Dagan but if he keeps on being an annoyance they will definitely find something.
The trouble is that the two security clubs, the official and the alternative, are posing a difficult dilemma for us. On the one hand, we have been trained to believe every word uttered by those serving in the exalted positions; on the other hand, even their tenure ends sometime and they too are liable one day to shake our blind faith in our messiahs.
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