In a perverse way it’s understandable that Israel’s legendary intelligence and security services failed to prevent the worst mass killing of Jews in their country in a half century. They've been distracted, and unforgivably so.
In the last year, members of Mossad and Shin Bet have been preoccupied with resisting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government and its efforts to reform an imperious and undemocratic justice system.
In addition to the open letters from former top spies and security chiefs decrying Netanyahu’s judicial reforms, hundreds of elite reservists in March said they would not be showing up to their posts in protest of the prime minister.
Earlier this year, the Times of Israel reported that Mossad chief David Barnea gave the green light to some of his charges to participate in the protests. One U.S. intelligence document posted to a Discord server by the disgraced Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira said that Mossad’s leadership went further: that Mossad leaders "advocated for Mossad officials and Israeli citizens to protest the new Israeli Government’s proposed judicial reforms, including several explicit calls to action that decried the Israeli Government, according to signals intelligence." And last month, the former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo blurted out that he believed his country was now an "apartheid state," repeating the talking points of Israel’s enemies.
Today's terror attacks are a sobering reminder than the Shin Bet and the Mossad should keep the main thing the main thing. Israel has wired Gaza with listening posts, hidden cameras and human assets. If the Shin Bet and Mossad failed to detect a plot of this magnitude then perhaps it should consider leaving politics to the politicians. Instead of "defending democracy," the spies and security chiefs should get back to defending Israel.
This revolt of Israel’s deep state reminds us of the stunts pulled by the FBI and the permanent bureaucracy in the Trump years. There were leaks, spurious investigations and former senior officials spreading the innuendo that Trump and his people were Russian agents. All of this was justified in the name of defending our democracy from its elected leader.
The difference is that Israel has a much smaller margin of error than America. Our republic managed to survive the deep state’s resistance to Trump because America remains the strongest and wealthiest country in the world. Israel is not so lucky.
When the institutions and leaders entrusted with the security of the world’s only Jewish state play politics instead of doing their jobs, catastrophe follows.