A new book provides an account of Israel's almost 70-year-old bloody history, which includes nearly at least 2,700 assassinations — making it the only western country in the world to have carried out such operations.
In "Rise and Kill First," investigative journalist and author Ronen Bergman talks about how Israeli officers tried to get rid of their enemies using poisoned toothpaste and exploding mobile phones.
The 600-page book is based on nearly 1,000 interviews, including with former prime ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, and eight years of research. In it, the author makes the case for how Israel used targeted assassinations, instead of full-blown military attacks, as a tool of war.
One of the book's most explosive revelations is the suggestion that Israel used radiation poisoning to kill Yasser Arafat, the former president of the Palestinian Authority. However, Bergman doesn't go into the details of how — and if — it happened because, he claims, “the military censor in Israel forbids me from discussing this subject.”
Arafat was fatally poisoned in 2004 with radioactive polonium.
Bloomberg reports the book also reveals other bizarre methods of assassination such as armed drones, exploding cell phones, spare tires with remote-control bombs and poisoned toothpaste — a possible reference to the killing of Wadih Haddad, who orchestrated many hijackings for the Palestinian cause, allegedly at the hands of Israeli agents in 1978.
Bergman also discusses the systematic murders of German nuclear scientists, who helped Egypt to launch a ballistic-missile program in the 1950s and the targeted killing of at least four Iranian nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012.
Although the United States' assassination machine isn't as robust as Israel's, Bergman writes that former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama adopted some techniques to carry out targeted killings, especially in the wake of the War on Terror.
“The command-and-control systems, the war rooms, the methods of information gathering and the technology of the pilotless aircraft, or drones, that now serve the Americans and their allies were all in large part developed in Israel,” Bergman writes.
The book's title, "Rise and Kill First," is derived from Talmudic mandate, “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first.”
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters