Former Mossad Chief: Israel's Greatest Threat Is Internal Division, Not Hezbollah

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Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo.Credit: Moti Milrod

Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo said on Tuesday that the greatest danger Israel faces isn’t external, but rather the divisions within Israeli society.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of an event commemorating fallen Druze soldiers, Pardo said that "If a divided society crosses a certain threshold, you can reach phenomena such as civil war, in extreme cases," adding that the distance between the present-day situation in Israel and a civil war is growing smaller.

"I'm afraid we're in that direction," he added.

Pardo made his comments in response to a question regarding the threats facing Israel. "Threats to countries today are internal and not external. What you have in Syria, in Iraq, in Libya and in Yemen and in a lot of countries – you see the daily statistics of attacks."

"It isn’t right to blame politicians for the divisions in society. You can't clear them of responsibility, but the change should be bottom-up," he said. "A lot of red lines are crossed in elections, but the problem is that the election is being carried on all year. The rift is acceptable in the legislature, but all the disagreements are being dragged down."

Responding to a comparison drawn by Israel's defense minister between the nuclear accord with Iran and the 1938 Munich Pact, Pardo said it was like comparing "zucchinis and pears."

"What happened at the end of the 1930s is different from what is happening today. History does not repeat itself [in such a way that justifies] such an analogy," he said.

Asked about Hezbollah, he said the Lebanese terror group was never an existential threat to Israel, "but it can pester us and cause pain, and spur our internal divide - but there is no threat."

He said he remained optimistic about Israel's future "for the sake of our children and grandchildren," but added that Israel has failed to create equal opportunities for all of its residents and citizens.

Commenting on the former spy's remarks, Zionist Union MK Nachman Shai said that "another gatekeeper has broken the silence."

"The former Mossad chief is breaking the silence and revealing, like his predecessors in the Shin Bet and the Mossad, that the dangers posed from within are more serious than external threats."

"Pardo joins a long line of gatekeepers and senior security officials pointing to the grim reality that the State of Israel is in nowadays and to the internal dangers lying in wait for it. Citizen Netanyahu should take notice," Shai said, referring to the prime minister. 

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