The Book ‘Rise & Kill First’ is written by Ronen Bergman, who is the world’s foremost authority on Israeli Intelligence.
The title of the Book come from the Talmud which says “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”
The State of Israel heeds this counsel very seriously and hence has a policy of assassination even before it was formed.
The Book covers in meticulous detail the various assassinations or operations carried out by Israel over the years and makes for fascinating reading.
Some takeaways I found interesting:
- There are no sacred cows.Any person who is perceived as a threat to State Security can be killed. Over the years, Israel has killed an Iranian diplomat,a Syrian General,political leaders etc. The most ruthless was the killing of Iran’s nuclear scientists which delayed Iran’s nuclear program by many years
- There are no geographic off limits. Assassinations have taken place in various countries across continents.Israel does not hesitate to use its Army/Navy Commandos for the same. In 2010, Mossad agents were caught on CCTV cameras killing a Hamas leader in Dubai
- There are no time limits. Even if your enemy has renounced arms, he still has to pay the price for the death of innocents he caused earlier.
- There is no limit to the ways you can kill your enemy.One of the most fascinating operation was how a terrorist leader was killed.Israeli intelligence replaced the tooth paste he was using with a poisoned one. Every time, the terrorist brushed his teeth a small portion of poison was deposited on his gums which eventually killed him
- Innocents will die.In counter-insurgency operations, the price of killing your enemy often involved the killing of innocents including women and children. This leads to anger, hatred and even more attacks…making peace a non-possibility
- Two types of intelligence- HumInt and SigInt. HumInt depends on humans-spys, informers etc.SigInt is communications, eavesdropping etc. Israel is a master in both of them
- Extensive Use of Technology. I was astounded to know that Israel had invented drone technology way back in 1982 ! They were so good at it that eventually they had built war scenarios where they could destroy the Syrian Army just using drones !
- Another interesting aspect is how Israel kills its enemies in the Occupied Territories.The skies of Gaza and West Bank are filled with thousands of drones. The moment a target is identified, he is marked with laser. Then Apache/F16s take over the laser painted target and fire missiles at the target thus annihilating it.They are so accurate that they were able to kill Sheikh Yassin, Hamas Leader when he was sitting in a wheel chair and was carried by his followers on the street !
- Extensive collaboration with other intelligence agencies,The entire Middle East operates on the principle of ‘The Enemy of my enemy is my friend’…so you have Israel collaborating with other states like Egypt,Jordan, Saudi Arabia etc depending who’s the common enemy
I found the Book to be a great read and yet after reading the Book, I felt a bit sad.
The reason is that the very success of Israeli intelligence in killing its enemies ensures that there will be no political settlement in the region and hence no peace
I would strongly recommend this Book to those interested in Israel and Military Affairs.