It was my great pleasure to G+ Hangout with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister+Danny Ayalon (Wikipedia) hosted by +Maria Quiban +Tshaka Armstrong at+myFOXla / FOX Los Angeles. The following is my question to Mr. Ayalon (I added a few words to give the readers some context).
Question: I understand you just attended the Jerusalem Post conference [in New York on Sunday Apr 29th]. And I’ve watched a video of sparks flying between Environmental Minister Gilad Erdan, and Meir Dagan, former chief of Mossad [national intelligence agency of Israel].
My question is about your view on the idea of an Israeli pre-emptive strike of Iran. Do you agree with Meir Dagan that [I paraphrase] “War is the the kind of thing where we know how it starts, but not how it will end” and Israel should exhaust all other means first before considering war?
Here is the full hangout video and you can watch my question and Mr. Ayalon’s answer (at 14:33 mark)
Background & Research material
The following are part of the research materials I gathered in order to ask an informed question. I tried to be as fair and as diplomatic as I could when asking my question without losing anything important in my question.
* May 1st, 2012 Jerusalem Post report of The Jerusalem Post Conference “Dagan and Erdan’s caustic exchange at the ‘Post’ Conference“. I’ve excerpted part of the exchange from a transcript of the acrimonious argument in a panel discussion on Israel’s security situation. To better understand the tone and context, I also found and watched a video clip of part of the exchange on YouTube. I think you get a sense of the heat from reading the words. (note: emphasis added, pix of Mr. Dagan via CBS 60 Minutes)
An excerpt from “Dagan and Erdan’s caustic exchange at the ‘Post’ Conference“,
“Keinon [Jerusalem Post’s diplomatic reporter]: But do you think it’s appropriate for him to make those kind of comments? He could have made them when he was the head of the Shin Bet (the Israel Security Agency)?
Dagan: First of all, I think he presented his position loudly and clearly about his refusal to the prime minister and defense minister. He didn’t announce it. It was in a closed room. To speak openly? (Turning to Gilad Erdan) I heard that a member of your party is now formulating a law… on behalf of my name, Dagan, preventing ex-people of the military and security establishment from speaking. Let me remind you of something, sir, what was started in Germany in the beginning.
You know how you are starting it; you don’t know how it is ending.
About Diskin, I believe that he is a very serious man and he is presenting a very serious point of view. And I know that serious point of view was presented to the prime minister and defense minister on many occasions.
[…] Erdan: Thank you very much, but I know that the Shin Bet is under the Prime Minister’s Office. (laughter) I also used to work there 15 or 16 years ago.
But the minister of defense still works together [with the prime minister], and if Yuval Diskin thought the prime minister was doing things so dangerous for the future of Israel, so in order to save Israel, he should resign, and not wait five years as head of the Shin Bet and then even agree to serve one more year.
And then, when resigning and when the prime minister does not accept his guy to be appointed as head of the Shin Bet…
Dagan:It’s not true. (boos) You are lying, sir. I am maybe not polite, but I prefer ministers of the State of Israel who speak the truth.
Erdan: I prefer that former heads of Mossad and Shin Bet won’t make damage to Israel…. That’s what I expect from you. Mr. Netanyahu goes around the world, and he never says that we are going to attack Iran, or when or where, but he is doing a lot of efforts in order to raise the awareness, and it is working.”
* Jerusalem Post Apr 29, 2012, “Dagan, Erdan trade barbs over Diskin comments”
* Jerusalem Post Apr 29, 2012, “Former Shin Bet chief slams ‘messianic’ PM, Barak”
* The Atlantic has an interesting and insightful piece “Netanyahu’s Bad Weekend”
* National Post, “Netanyahu under fire from within over Iran strike”
* CBS 60 Minutes “The Spymaster: Meir Dagan on Iran’s threat”