Halevy: Europe heading to major cultural clash

Former Mossad chief says Europe's ever-growing Muslim population doesn't want to adopt its culture.

Efraim Halevy 248.88 (photo credit: )
Efraim Halevy 248.88
(photo credit: )
Europe is heading towards a major cultural clash with an ever-growing Muslim population that does not want to adopt European culture, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy said Monday. "We can expect a major inter-cultural clash in Europe," Halevy said in an address at the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies on the changing face of the world on the eve of 2009. He added that prominent European countries, as well as Russia, could be nearly 50 percent Muslim by 2050, noting that England was currently debating whether Islamic law can be applicable to British Muslims instead of British law in certain matters such as marital disputes. The former spymaster, who immigrated to Israel from the UK as a teenager in 1948, opined that how European countries reacted to such a challenge would determine their very future. "More and more we see that Muslims [living in Europe] are not interested in adapting to the local European culture but seek to live by their own way of life within the European framework," he said. "The demographics have significant political and cultural implications." In a wide-ranging address, the former Mossad chief said that the greatest danger facing the world at large was the merging of global Islamic terrorism and the proliferation by either state or non-state entities of non-conventional weapons. "We do not know of any such successes, but we do know that a will for such a merger exists," he said. "This is a threat which, if it materializes, will put us in a whole new world, one which is unknown and uncontrollable." Halevy said that 2009 would be a critical year in determining whether the world was headed into an era where rogue states and non-state entities - such as Hizbullah and Hamas - were able to acquire non-conventional arsenals in light of Iran's nuclear program. "There are a large number of countries, including in the Middle East, who are waiting to see what will happen [with Iran] and who will go in their footsteps," he said. "There are enough signs that we are headed in that direction." Halevy, who in the past has broken with the mainstream Israeli establishment by playing down the threat that a nuclear Iranian posed to the State of Israel (as well as his calls for Israel to enter negotiations with Hamas) cited former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as calling such a situation "uncontrollable," but then added without elaborating that some uncontrollable situations could be controlled. He suggested that 2009 offered Israel a chance for "wise and creative" diplomacy, calling it "an opportunity we have not had for years," and a year which would be a "supreme test" of Israeli diplomacy. Halevy added that any future negotiations between US and the Islamic Republic would necessarily include Israel's interests. "At the end of the day, it will emerge that the path from Teheran to Washington runs through Jerusalem," he said. In the past, he has predicted that ultimately the US will talk to Iran, and said that Israel needed to be part of such a dialogue. Halevy also rebuffed recent international studies predicting a decline in American power in the world. "In the foreseeable future, Washington DC will remain the most central capital in the world, and the president of the United States will continue to be the most influential leader in the world."