The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, from the man hailed by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter”
The Talmud says: “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.” This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel’s DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively. In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs—their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions.
Bergman has gained the exceedingly rare cooperation of many current and former members of the Israeli government, including Prime Ministers Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, and Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as high-level figures in the country’s military and intelligence services: the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), the Mossad (the world’s most feared intelligence agency), Caesarea (a “Mossad within the Mossad” that carries out attacks on the highest-value targets), and the Shin Bet (an internal security service that implemented the largest targeted assassination campaign ever, in order to stop what had once appeared to be unstoppable: suicide terrorism).
Including never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of files to which Bergman has gotten exclusive access over his decades of reporting, Rise and Kill First brings us deep into the heart of Israel’s most secret activities. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel’s targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.
“This is an astonishing book on targeted assassination in the name of the state. Tremendous reporting and writing make Rise and Kill First the definitive work on a secret and ceaseless war.”—Tim Weiner, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and author of Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.80(d)|
About the Author
Ronen Bergman is the senior correspondent for military and intelligence affairs for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s largest daily paid newspaper, and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, where he reports on intelligence, national security, terrorism, and nuclear issues. Bergman is the author of five bestselling Hebrew-language nonfiction books and The Secret War with Iran, which was published in the United States by Free Press. Bergman is the recipient of the Sokolow Prize, Israel’s most esteemed award for journalism, and the B’nai B’rith International Press Award, among other honors. A member of the Israeli bar, he graduated with honors from the University of Haifa Faculty of Law and clerked in the attorney general’s office. A winner of a Chevening Scholarship from the British Foreign Office, he received a master’s in international relations from Cambridge University, where he was also awarded his PhD in history.
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Excerpted from "Rise and Kill First"
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Table of Contents
A Note on the Sources xiii
1 In Blood and Fire 3
2 A Secret World is Born 21
3 The Bureau for Arranging Meetings with God 39
4 The Entire Supreme Command, with One Blow 52
5 "As if the Sky Were Falling on Our Heads" 61
6 A Series of Catastrophes 86
7 "Armed Struggle is the Only Way to Liberate Palestine" 105
8 Meir Dagan and his Expertise 121
9 The Plo Goes International 136
10 "I Have No Problem with Anyone That I've Killed" 154
11 "Wrong Identification of a Target is not a Failure. It's a Mistake." 175
12 Hubris 186
13 Death in the Toothpaste 208
14 A Pack of Wild Dogs 225
15 "Abu Nidal, Abu Shmidal" 248
16 Black Flag 262
17 The Shin Bet Coup 277
18 Then Came a Spark 297
19 Intifada 324
20 Nebuchadnezzar 343
21 Green Storm Rising 362
22 The Age of the Drone 382
23 Mughniyeh's Revenge 398
24 'Just One Switch, Off and On" 409
25 "Bring us the Head of Ayyash" 424
26 "Sly as a Snake, Naïve as a Little Child" 445
27 A Low Point 467
28 All-Out War 483
29 "More Suicide Bombers Than Explosive Vests" 498
30 "The Target has been Eliminated, But the Operation Failed" 516
31 The Rebellion in Unit 8200 529
32 Picking Anemones 541
33 The Radical Front 566
34 Killing Maurice 588
35 Impressive Tactical Success, Disastrous Strategic Failure 610