Exaggerating the threat potential and animosity of another country or group is a standard procedure for all politicians and regimes who want to stay in power. This exercise of Machiavellian-style politics also serves, at times, to deflect public attention from domestic political scandals or ensure international support and aid. It would be wrong to think that the politicians of some countries practice this and others don't. It's a global political epidemic.
"How dare you speak of a shortage of flour when the whole country is mobilized to fight ISIS; what kind of a patriot are you?"
"Seriously? Our communication networks are infested by Israeli spies and all you can do is complain about cellular phone rip-off charges? Are you sure you're not a Zionist sympathizer?"
"What are you? A self-hating Jew? Hezbollah is getting ready to slaughter our people in the north and all you care about is if our P.M is corrupt? Looking at petty things to weaken our government?"
The above are examples of things you might read in comment sections on the web. There are always Syrians, Lebanese, and Israeli "tools of the state" that try to shame critical thinkers. The concept of nationalism is highjacked to shut down the opposition.
Tamir Pardo was the chief of the Mossad for over half a decade. You can't hold such an office in possibly the most active intelligence service for five years without becoming a member of the little circle of highly knowledgeable men on earth.
Mr. Pardo was recently asked about the threats facing Israel in order of priority, he chose to prioritize the threat of an internal Israeli division and the Palestinian situation over that of Iran. It is strange that his answer provoked disagreement and, from a people that are considered to be at the top of the charts when it comes to education.
When the ex-head of the Mossad answered the way he did, he probably compared the destruction experienced by neighboring Lebanon due to division as opposed to the destruction caused by major Israeli wars. Nothing can ruin a country like its own citizens.
As for the Palestinian affair, he is right again. Things have changed in the past two decades. Now the Palestinian activists have access to the web. They are sharing their stories. The world sees a 16-year-old girl being arrested from her home in the darkness of the night by heavily armed military personnel. This is not pretty.
The Israelis did, however, leak a video showing how the girl had physically abused two soldiers who displayed an incredible amount of commendable restraint. What the same video also showed was that the two soldiers in war gear were standing inside the fence of the girl's home. It shows her yelling at them to get out of the property before even touching them. It shows the soldiers ignoring her requests.
Although the sad truth is that children younger than Ahed Tamimi have been brutally killed in some Arab and non-Arab countries for doing much less than what the video shows her doing, the truth remains that Israel treasures the claim of being humanitarian. We as international viewers have not seen a legal search warrant or anything of the sort in the hands of those soldiers. They had no reason to be inside someone's home; much less someone internationally famous for her hot temper towards the Israeli army. Her reaction was almost definitely predictable. Conspiracy theories can evolve easily from this situation.
It so happens that Mr. Pardo is a strong advocate of cybersecurity. He warned about the technical threats of a lack in correct measures and has done his share in warning the public about the possible vicious effects of the internet just like the viral video of a beautiful young minor being dragged out of her home for losing her temper when soldiers decided to enter without permission. It's how the world sees it.
Instead of opposing the wise, people should listen to them. Iran already has the strongest small army at Israel's border but that is not more lethal than an internal division or the loss of international public opinion. In what other way is Iran a threat? A good answer would be the possibility of producing a nuclear bomb.
Mr. Netanyahu has access to the Mossad files and reports. He knows the truth about Iran's nuclear potential. He keeps warning the world of Iran's desire to have nuclear weapons at every possible chance. Which, brings us back to Machiavelli. Mr. Netanyahu does not explain how Iran's dogmatic regime can feel about a weapon that could harm the Lebanese and the Palestinians if targeted at Israel; would the Iranians use such a weapon?
Mr. Netanyahu should ask wise men like Mr. Pardo if there are, by any chance, concrete confirmations that all the nuclear warheads from the ex-Soviet Union had been accounted for. Had they all been dismantled or moved to Russia? Could, let's say, some units have made their way to rich close-by buyers who have no problem adding a one-shot 400 million dollars to their defense budget?
Mr. Pardo's opinions should be given more credit.