Yuval Diskin was, until recently, head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
He is a strange sort, one of the few who didn’t talk to journalists during his
tenure, or afterward.
Here is a man who devoted most of his adult life to
the country, but didn’t rush to claim his reward by living in a prestigious Tel
Aviv tower and didn’t feel like anyone owed him anything. A man who says
what he thinks, and thinks what he says. He has no tricks or
Diskin has not been interviewed since his retirement in 2011,
and except in a rare appearance at the Majdi Forum in Kfar Saba in April this
year, his voice hasn’t been heard in public.
The words that you are about
to read are ones he said to friends last week in a closed meeting. This time,
too, just to prevent any misunderstanding, he was not interviewed.
meeting, he referred to a report in Haaretz last week on a survey which found
that some 40 percent of Israel’s Jewish population would consider leaving the
country (if they had the means). He was moved by the sense that seems to be
spreading among many good people that the country is going down the
“The article is very interesting and very worrying,” Diskin said,
referring to the alarming percentage of Israelis ready to emigrate.
if this reflects their feelings and does not mean they will actually leave. I
think there’s a lot of truth in this, at least from what I hear from people
“It stems from the economic crisis, as well as a crisis in
values and leadership. These things need to be said. The face of the
country is changing a lot, and this trend is likely to continue.
direction is clear, it’s toward the Right, religious extremism, and a lack of
equality in carrying the national burden. A sense of inability to change these
processes, including the leadership crisis, causes people to lose
“Many people have a hard time identifying with the direction the
country is going in. It’s one of the greatest dangers facing the nation and the
Yuval Diskin knows upclose – as close as possible – all the
existential threats endangering the country. He has fought his whole life
to stop them.
He, together with Moshe Ya’alon, made targeted killing an
efficient method of removing the terrorist threat from our buses and
Diskin was a praiseworthy head of the Shin Bet, a leader who got
straight to the point, didn’t hesitate to use force – sometimes a lot of force –
when necessary. But every now and again, he tried to use his
brainpower. He didn’t see physical power as an all-encompassing
The things with which he dealt as Shin Bet director didn’t worry
him – not the Iranians, not the Palestinians and not any other external
He is, however, concerned about what is happening here, inside
our country. That it’s crumbling, falling apart. We are losing our
When he addressed the Majdi Forum, he spoke about the
“messianism” of our leaders, especially Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and
Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
He saw them up close, and he knew exactly
what he was talking about.
In the meeting with his friends last week, he
related to this.
“The leadership crisis,” he said, “is the most serious,
in my opinion. Our ‘leaders’ and the leaders of all the political parties
running in the current elections are seen by many as being anything from
unworthy to corrupt, opportunists who care mostly about themselves, rather than
people who put the good of the people and the country above
The country is going to elections, he continued, “when the
Center and ‘the Jewish Israeli’ are completely confused between Yair ‘the hunk’
[Lapid] – a former journalist who has never been a manager and has said nothing
about anything important, except for a bit about haredim – and Shelly ‘the
socialist’ [Yacimovich] – who presented a baseless economic program and lacks
any political program – and Tzipi ‘the clean one’ [Livni], who has vision in
politics but in nothing else.
“A blank vote seems to me more and more of
a good option that could also be a strong statement if many people did the
same.... We must think of a way to make a deep and profound change in our