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‘Western mindset can’t effectively deal with terrorism’ – Middle East experts slams Israeli security chiefs

Then-head of Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman visits the 8th International UVID Conference at the Avenue Convention Center in Airport City, November 7, 2019. (Photo: Flash90)

Since the catastrophe of Oct. 7, journalists, former IDF officers and public intellectuals have been discussing the faulty underlying assumptions in Israel’s security situation that led to the military’s failure to deal with the Hamas invasion.

One view that has been advanced by several prominent voices – and has received much media attention – is that, as a Western nation, Israel doesn’t understand its enemies’ mindset, which could lead to the assumption that their efforts to destroy Israel can be weakened or stopped by economic concessions and political arrangements.

One of these voices is Zvi Yehezkeli, the Arab Affairs correspondent for Channel 13. In unusually candid remarks, he recently excoriated the past and present leaders of the Shin Bet domestic intelligence service for failing to understand Israel’s enemies.

“They don’t know Arabic and they think in a Western way,” Yehezkeli said about Israel's security chiefs over the past decades, for example criticizing them for signing the Oslo Accords with arch-terrorist and Palestinian political leader Yasser Arafat in 1993.

Yehezkeli is a veteran Israeli journalist and Middle East expert. He has interviewed numerous well-known terrorists over the years and filmed a documentary series dressing up as a Muslim Brotherhood preacher for an undercover investigation of Islamist networks in Europe.

His comments during an interview on the Hidabroot YouTube channel, published on Tuesday, were partially prompted by recent remarks by former Shin Bet Chief Nadav Argaman.

“The Palestinian Authority is not a body that encourages terrorism and certainly not a terrorist organization...the Palestinian Authority (PA) sees itself as living by our side,” Argaman said in March.  

Speaking about the views of retired IDF generals and former Shin Bet officials, he added: “With all due respect, they are working for Israel’s security – but they’re missing things, they make mistakes, and they don’t understand Arabic.”

“Even Shin Bet directors who were Arabists turn around in the end. Why? Because there is a Western atmosphere, saying that the West wants to force the East to live according to its way,” said Argaman.

Yehezkeli argued: “Nadav Argaman knows that the terrorists who carried out the latest attacks during this Ramadan are Palestinian policemen, he knows what’s being said in every school book of the PA.”

Even so, Argaman claims to want to choose the lesser evil by supporting the PA, Yehezkeli continued. “That’s the mistake. That’s how Hamas started,” he said.

“The Palestinian Authority educates to hate. People who carry out slaughter with knives and axes, children from the Palestinian Authority who carry out terror attacks – that’s education.”

Israel’s security chiefs respond that there has to be some kind of arrangement, Yehezkeli said, but he doesn’t agree.

“These arrangements are exactly according to their plans,” he said. “A bit more, a bit more – and in the end, when you receive the blow, you’re already in their hands.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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