Photo Credit:
Dan Raviv

Wouldn’t the Mossad know more than the CIA, however, about what’s going on in Arab countries?

It depends. Israel is very focused on the military capabilities and intentions of neighboring countries, so the Mossad probably knows more than the CIA about the governments of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and possibly Saudi Arabia. But the Americans are focused on big-picture issues and those include Saudi Arabia, Iran and even the new leaders of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Israel’s intelligence agencies don’t take as wide a view as America does.

This book bills itself as essentially a straight history of the Mossad, but a distinct left-wing bias seems to pop up at times. For instance, you write at one point that “hardly anyone with a scintilla of sensitivity enjoyed being an occupier” after Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967. And yet, there are plenty of very sensitive Israelis who feel absolutely no guilt living on, what they would call, the liberated lands of Judea and Samaria.

I think Yossi and I pretty much are in the middle of the mainstream. I personally don’t have a view as to whether Israel has to give up Judea and Samaria. It depends on what’s possible in the future….

But what about your harsh language: “anyone with a scintilla of sensitivity…”?

I don’t know which way you lean. My observation would be that people on the right often think they see left-leaning language and people on the left think they see hardline language. There are critics of Israel who think that our book is one huge effort to justify violent and selfish behavior by Israel. I think we are just reporting the reality of the innovative ways in which Israel defends itself.

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