It’s Not the Israeli Right That the Former Mossad Chief Needs to Fear

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Settlers in Netzarim carry the Menorah from the synagogue’s roof.Credit: Reuters

Former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo warned against civil war. An analysis of his remarks shows that he meant fraternal war. Since a guilty conscience needs no accusers, I assume Pardo was referring to me and my kind, the settlers, who are preparing the ground for intertribal warfare as we speak. Only among them is the potential for the extreme violence that will bring the Third Commonwealth to its end. The left, on the other hand, has always been peace-seeking and has never used weapons against Jews.

From time to time there arise prophets who foretell of civil war and those who call for such a contest, the spark of divine mission in their eyes. Such calls have been heard since the return to Zion resumed in the modern era, but responsible leaders like Menachem Begin prevented such a war. “Just not a civil war,” Begin ordered his Irgun fighters during the dark days of the Saison – when the Haganah pre-state underground militia hunted down members of its right-wing rival to the British, who hanged them – and the slaughter on the Altalena.

Forty years ago, during Gush Emunim’s struggle to settle in Samaria, there were explicit calls from the left, particularly from the kibbutz movements, for an armed confrontation. So it was also during the expulsion of Jews from the settlements in northern Sinai in 1982, and from the Gaza Strip in 2005. A tendentious and inciting media told of gangs of settlers, aided by soldiers and officers from the settlements, planning a coup d’etat to foil the government’s plans. There were calls on the left – and not only its margins – for a preemptive strike.

Although the results of all these “civil wars” are known, serious individuals continue to issue these baseless warnings. The question begs to be asked: Perhaps this time Pardo’s admonition refers to violence from the left? Perhaps, as their grip on the junctions of power continues to slip, the leftist elites will attempt to recover it through civil war? This too is ridiculous, of course. Not, heaven forfend, because the leading lights of the radical left have any compunctions about using force against the settlers, but because they lack the energy even for such a holy war.

The only weapon the hate-filled, disintegrating left has is to cry wolf. Pardo’s remarks got wide publicity only because they stoke the fire of destructive incitement against the settlers, even if he didn’t mean this consciously. But the public, which is fed up with being intimidated, has learned that civil wars exist only in the malicious hearts of the inciters, who, in part because of this, are losing their years-long control of the state. I see this in each encounter with the descendants of members of the Zionist left — Labor Party precursors Mapai, Ahdut Ha’avoda and even Mapam.

We can assume that Pardo, like his colleagues Yuval Diskin and Meir Dagan, is frustrated by the transformation of Israeli society. So long as the left remains in opposition to the state itself, this metamorphosis will continue unhampered. Any attempt to check it by means of apocalyptic predictions will fail. The people Pardo warns of are not built for civil war, neither ideologically nor emotionally. They proved this through the unanimous condemnation of the “Jewish Underground,” and on the roofs of Yamit and Homesh, and through the heartbreaking weeping as they said goodbye to their life’s work in Gush Katif. And also in the pogrom in Amona.

When Pardo rings his unfounded alarm bell, it’s hard to accept the implication of his judgment that Iran poses no danger. Granted, in this area he is more knowledgeable, but silence becomes a wise man. To keep the world focused on the ayatollahs’ schemes, Israel needs constant vigilance, not an all-clear siren.

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