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June 1, 2016 4:26 pm

Former Mossad Chief: Iran Poses No Existential Threat; Israel’s Existence Assured for Next 1,000 Years (VIDEO)

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Former Mossad director Efraim Halevy, in an interview with Al Jazeera. Photo: Screenshot.

Former Mossad director Efraim Halevy, in an interview with Al Jazeera. Photo: Screenshot.

“There is no existential threat to Israel from anybody in the world, including the Iranians, as it has adequate responses to any threat that the Iranians pose,” a former director of Israel’s national intelligence agency said on Wednesday, asserting that the Jewish state’s existence is “assured for the next 1,000 years.”

Ex-Mossad chief Efraim Halevy made this claim during an interview with Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, who asked him whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other members of the government were “lying” when they repeatedly suggested that the nuclear deal with Tehran imperiled Israel’s survival.

“They’re not lying,” Halevy answered. “They think differently than I think.”

When Hasan challenged him, saying, “Yours is a minority view,” Halevy shot back: “I’m not sure whether it’s a minority or a majority view. I know many people in the establishment who believe what I’m saying – that we have sufficient capability to assure our existence. But why is fear being used as a tool to assure Israel’s support of one side or another? This, unfortunately, goes back to our recent history of the last 100 years, because those who quote the existential threat also go back to the Holocaust, and I believe there is no comparison between the Holocaust and what is happening now. Because in the Holocaust, we were defenseless. And today, we are the strongest military power in the Middle East.”

Halevy agreed “to some extent” with the suggestion that vociferous opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was for internal political consumption. Since the deal was signed, he said, “Look how silent most of the Israeli leaders are on Iran. Suddenly, it’s almost a deafening silence. Whereas before the deal was signed, almost every day, people were railing against it and so forth, suddenly, the tone has changed. And suddenly, it’s possible for the Israeli prime minister to go to Moscow, and to talk to the Russian president, at the same time that the Iranians are coming to Moscow. And they are now probably one of the biggest allies of the Russians in the Middle East.”

Grilled about Israel’s own nuclear program, and whether it is fair for Israel to have nuclear weapons, but  not for Iran to have them, Halevy remained tight-lipped. “If you are asking me whether Israel has nuclear weapons, my answer is that I don’t know.”

Hasan was incredulous and continued to belabor the point – questioning whether it was possible that someone who headed the Mossad would not have been informed about whether his country possessed nukes.

“First of all, I don’t have to disclose [what I was told]. Secondly, in order to be head of Mossad, I don’t have to be a person who knows whether we have nukes or not,” Halevy said.

“Do you believe Israel has nukes?” Hasan asked, to which Halevy replied: “It’s not a question of belief. I don’t deal in beliefs. I believe that the question of whether Israel does or does not have nuclear capabilities is a question which Israel has decided not to address. And I think we are in our rights not to address it.”

Hasan then pressed Halevy about what he would think if a former chief of Iranian intelligence said something similar about his country’s nuclear ambitions, and whether it would be his right not to address the question.

“Yes, it’s his right,” said Halevy, “because we know now that Iran does have it and it’s a matter of public knowledge. We don’t have to ask him the question.”

“It’s a matter of public knowledge about Israel’s nuclear program,” Hasan said.

“I don’t think that the same applies to Israel and Iran,” Halevy responded, adding that “if there is a government which threatens the destruction of a state in the world, then I think it is incumbent upon the world to take that state to task, and see to it that it does not have the capability to destroy Israel.”

Halevy, who was born in London and immigrated to Israel in 1948, was the ninth director of the Mossad, during the 1960s. He is credited with being instrumental in the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, signed in 1994.

In July 2015, after the JCPOA was announced, Halevy told Israel’s Channel 2: “In this deal there are a number of elements that are very good for the state of Israel. There are less good elements, but it is not an agreement that is entirely bad. There are problems with the inspections. There is the problem that after 10-15 years, there is the option for Iran to make a nuclear bomb… But in a situation where it is impossible to separate Iran from a nuclear weapon, inasmuch as Iran refuses to give up on all of its capabilities, they reached an agreement that facilitates other kinds of options, that yielded a period of time in which it is possible to create a different atmosphere in the Middle East.”

 See the full Al Jazeera interview below:

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  • Michael

    Anyone who can claim that there is no existential threat to any country for the next 1000 years is obviously ignorant of history. There are few states today that even vaguely resemble the ones that existed a thousand years ago.

  • nelson marans

    One mistake or miscalculation could signal the end of the Jewish state We should be careful in our predictions

  • Oliver Grant

    Could the former Mossad Chief also be former pro-Israel and now pro-Iran? Beware of anyone who says Iran or Russia are not security threats and that the real terrorists are US, Israel and NATO.

    • ella

      I believe that nither iran or russia are threat. I believe that the US is the bigest threat. They start wars everywhere.

  • Chris Rettenmoser

    Idiots are some of Israels most dangerous enemies…
    At some point in time, Irans nuclear Holocaust program MUST be WIPED OUT !!!!!!!!!!
    BY FORCE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • shloime

    while it’s hard not to admire a man who headed the mossad, that was 14 years ago, and halevy himself is over 80 years old.

    to state flatly that “there is no existential threat to israel from anybody” is poppycock.

    for example, a single north korean warhead, purchased by iran and smuggled into lebanon, could be mounted on any one of its 100,000 rockets. and then it becomes just a question of semantics whether a radioactive crater which once was tel aviv or jerusalem or haifa constitutes an “existential threat” or not.

    even ex-directors of the mossad should have that much imagination.

  • enufizenuf

    While we have the greatest respect for Mr. Halevy his thinking on this issue is founded upon the kind of rigidity of thought that starts and ends with a “concept,” much like that which determined before the 73 war that the arabs would not invade because Israel was stronger.
    His miscalculations in this area grounded in the same conventional thinking about nuclear warfare which governed strategic thought during the Cold War, with
    Israel and Iran positioned to fire nuclear missiles at each other after some exchange of hostilities.
    The intention of Iran is to fire nuclear tipped missiles at Tel Aviv from a boat one hundred miles or so offshore
    from Israel. It can do so with a delivery time of approximately five minutes, and it will be impossible to identify the source of the missiles in any way to justify a retaliatory strike.
    This is, of course, precisely the same plan of attack Iran has in mind for the U.S. cities of NYC, Washington D.C., Houston and Los Angeles, except that in those cases they intend to use EMP explosions instead of direct nuclear hits.
    For two decades the Iranian leadership has made it clear that they are wiling to lose tens of millions of their own people in order to wipe out the big and little Satans and initiate the great battle which will cause the return of their 12th Imam. They believe this and they mean it.
    This leaves the West with only two choices, one, either peremptorily take out Iran’s ability to ever wage extra-normal warfare or two, adopt a policy of total Middle Eastern Muslim destruction if any nuclear attack ever occurs. While this would be unfair to other, less overtly, hostile Muslim nations, it will achieve the desired effect of causing Iran to stand down with their world-wide existential threats.

  • sifter

    Judas speaketh! Same Mossad that miscalculated 1973 threat, botched Mashal hit in Jordan, and regularily gets caught deploying Australian or Euro passports… we’re supposed to trust this guy’s reading of the Ayatollahs declared nuclear threat??
    I don’t think so.

  • nat cheiman

    comforting to know Israel can deal with Iran

  • The former head of the MOssad could be right, he could be wrong about an existential threat to Israel. In the past if he was wrong it wouldn’t have serious consequences. The stakes are so hi with nuclear weapons you can’t afford to be wrong, and the world should be very concerned when unstable people have such a weapon of mass destruction. Even if these tyrants used them on only on their own people, it’s still a good reason to control them even if they were killing their own. Recent news show they do not hesitate to murder even their own. The world needs to police the Iranians.

    When you ask a question comparing Israel having a bomb, or any other western nation like US having a bomb compared to them, there is no comparison US and Israel have it and can be trusted and it’s a great deterrent, if these extremist have it, it’s a huge menace and threat to world existence.

    This is obviously an anti-semitic channel and show host.

  • Robert B Sklaroff Md

    I have summarized primary-information about Halevy, published recently in the Jewish Exponent.

    He was complicit – along with Dennis Ross – in holding the “Camp David II” event, despite awareness that it was a set-up for a give-away to the Palestinian Arabs.

    I questioned him directly during a trip to Israel sponsored by the American Jewish Committee, a bit more than a decade ago.

    He acknowledged awareness of Arafat’s intransigence, but then he blamed Dennis Ross for pushing for Clinton to proceed.

  • Great educational video on the Mossad, their function and views.

  • Such is a responsible leader and a professional journalist, that they dialogue.

  • For sure, Mr.Halevy intends to reassure Israelis,but some of his premises do not add up.Those opposing the JCPoA may be silent but not necessarily acquiescent. They expressed their opposition arguments,Bibi made a lot of non-political people aware of the treaty,it still went through.Now they wait and watch.Not evidence of internal machinations He argues that if a state threatens the destruction of Israel(any state) “it is incumbent upon the world to take that state to task ” to protect Israel. True, but in reality where was the world in 1948? Betting how long it would take the 5 Arab states to annihilate Israel. Every day Israel faces threats, some her powerful army cannot beat.Who bothers ?

  • shloime

    apart from the very obvious wishful thinking, it’s interesting that he should point out the sudden silence about iran. because just such a silence might be the first sign that an operation is imminent.

  • Mark Rosenblit

    I am very surprised at Halevy’s responses. Here are two important points that he should have made:

    First, the fact that Israel has a second-strike capability does not render the Iranian threat to annihilate Israel non-existential — just as the Soviet nuclear threat during the Cold War was not rendered non-existential by the United States’ second-strike capability.

    Second, putting aside the moral dimension (i.e., that Israel is, for the most part, Virtuous and that Iran is, for the most part, Evil), the difference between the Israeli and Iranian nuclear programs is that the former is legal under international law, while the latter is illegal thereunder. Israel is not, and has never been a member of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons; and consequently its program was developed without using nuclear technology provided to non-nuclear Treaty members for benign purposes. However, Iran is a member of the Treaty, and its program was developed by illegally using nuclear technology provided to it for benign purposes.

  • Far be it from me to tell Israeli leaders – especially people of the stature of Ephraim Halevy – what arguments to parade in public, but the one about nuclear weapons is surely this:

    Israel may or may not have had nuclear weapons from whatever date, but this is totally irrelevant in that Israel has made NO threats to neighbouring nations such that Arab nations felt free to go to war with Israel, avowedly to annihilate it, in 1967 and 1973.

    The same cannot be said of Iran who has announced, even before gaining nuclear weapons that, in its eyes, their major use is to exterminate Israel and all the Jews living in it – never mind the Muslims. Iran has already publicly made up its mind that Israel is a two-bomb country!

  • DocReality

    Someone needs an Alzheimer’s screening.

  • Dommy

    “Existential” apparently is the new buzz word. Seems everybody is using it, but almost all use it inappropriately.

    I’d bet 75% of the people using it don’t even know what it means!

    For example, take Mr. ex-Mossad chief here.

    Sir: Iran either IS a threat to Israel, or it isn’t.

    No “existential” about it.

  • John Train

    Efraim Halevy Is a man with many strong opinions: some very productive; some very destructive

    . Israel’s peace with Jordan is largely his doing.

    The unpleasant surprises of the Yom Kippur war are also due to his refusal to acknowledge the intentions of the Arabs and their build up.

    He is in favor of soft dealing with Hamas and keeps talking about them honoring agreements when they did not.

    The duty of intelligence head is to stay aware of all impending threats. No one can guarantee the United States survival for 100 years. It is arrogance and stupidity to say that Israel will survive for 1000 years.

    It also leads to the organizational complacency that existed under his leadership in the intelligence community.

    My personal dealings with Halevy found him to be self-assured beyond the point of reason and unwilling to entertain evidence that his viewpoints may be faulty.

  • Dave

    Brilliant interview with Halevi. The man is measured in his responses, does not tow the official Netanyahu line but does not give in to the Al Jezzira interviewer’s opinions on “occupation” and whether or not Israel has the A bomb, and why Iran should not be allowed to posses a nuclear weapon. Too bad guys like Halevi don’t run for the Prime Minister job Israel

  • Jonah

    Is it fair? Yes it’s fair you freaking idiot. When the sole existence of Islam is to wipe Israel from the face of the earth you ask if it is fair if they have nukes. According to scripture Israel lasts far longer than 1000 years…after the 1000 year millinium Israel goes into an everlasting eternal state. The new Jerusalem comes down from heaven and is planted on this earth permanently. It is 1500 miles by 1500 miles approx., it has a total of 12 pearl gates with a layered foundation of precious stones both representing the tribes of Israel and the disciples of Jesus.

  • stevenl

    What about the 150,000 missiles in South Lebanon, in the hands of Nasrallah?

  • Efraim Halevy’s responses should be an eye-opener to the many leaders of the world who shoot their mouths off to say unintended things that embarrass them afterwards!“First of all, I don’t have to disclose [what I was told]. Secondly, in order to be head of Mossad, I don’t have to be a person who knows whether we have nukes or not” keeps any smart interviewer at bay.
    However, Halevy’s revelation that “after 10-15 years, there is the option for Iran to make a nuclear bomb… But in a situation where it is impossible to separate Iran from a nuclear weapon” is enough for someone handling the nation’s affairs currently like Benjamin Netanyahu to get agitated and “rail against” the Iran deal!It should not be forgotten even for a moment that Iran could be “harsh and angry”at will in accordance with Koranic instructions and what better way to ensure that “the infidels will be unable to prepare to fight” than by using a pre-emptive nuclear strike?

  • Jake

    Such an optimistic view on a such large scale of time is the signing of full craziness, like that of Hitler and his “Tausendjahriges Reich”…
    Put Israelis’ possession of Nukes and Iranians’ one is a tremendous absurdity: Israel has No Plan for Destroying any country as Iran Has it! Period.
    Such a fool was Mossad’s Chief???? Unbelievable !
    Well….! Israel had then no true dangerous enemy! just f…..g arabs with soviet weaponry, letting out their leggings to run quicker on the sand…! Iran decide when and how to shoot! What is valuable in western dual fight is also effective for two countries: Don’t be dead at the first gunshot!
    Now, it is Persia….! A great amazing numerous developed People (just driven by a bunch of fools and mostly unifying the population in a dictature, as Israel is the eternal mess of a “Jewish” democracy……)
    What an Epoch are we living !

  • Only with godliness through studying, understanding and applying Torah will all that military power amount to anything.

  • jakob wasi

    At least someone in Israel’s muck a mucks has common sense. Netenyahu’s silliness that Iran is an existential threat is sheer, unadulterated eyewash.

  • Ralph Levitt

    This Halevy is either mentally deranged or a yold.
    Likely the latter.

  • Halevy forgets he does not think like an Islamic fundamentalist. Israel can assure retaliation not survival. You are dealing with a mentality where we have seen people screaming Ali Akbar and charge a tank with a machine gun!! There is no telling what a crazy Ayatola with a lifetime appointment with touch of dementia might be capable of

  • Efraim Halevy is right, a man of peace!
    I think it is about time Israel should help their neighbor Arab country to live in stability and prosperity. I get sick and tired of seen Arab countries been played around by especially stupid people of Obama administration and the Scandinavians allies mad men. The question is about if Britain is going to stay in NATO where NATO is pushing against Russia, Russia is not threatening any country. NATO is dangerous for the stability of the entire world; NATO does fabricate conflicts out of the blue which do not exist. NATO wants to bring back the world into the old cold war world political situation which is madness. Man can not go backward, because the concept of socialism and capitalism did change completely. The same situation in Asia, Obama administration must stop fabricating fake political causes in South China sea! It is up to Asian countries to deal with their everyday life matters in peace among men of the South China Sea deals! Donald Trump is right saying that USA military forces of to day will not win a war. China is a land of peace!!!!! USA must start to solve their own intern country social problems, do not spend money in NATO. Give peace a chance! I’m tired and sick of seen Obama’s game plays reticulating the past in Japan and wants to sell weapons to Vietnam, Obama forgetting that the cause of the Vietnam War was fabricated which never did exist!!!!!!!!!!! In fact a happy man is the man who has no past in mind! Just as a child! A Child is always happy if he is not abused by past diseases as the killing Mr. Gaddafi for his big money to be robbed!

  • Yaakov

    I guess he’s a millennial.

  • Max Cohen

    Mr. Halevy starts with an assumption of the rationality of Iranian leadership. Under the reign of the Shah Pahlevi, yes, there was rational leadership. But since the rise of the Ayatollahs, rationality has been replaced by emotional outbursts of hatred not only for Israel, but also for Christianity and western culture. Under an Iranian reign of terror there is more to fear than a possible stalemate of nuclear missiles. How, for example, would Israel respond to an attack by a two million man Iranian army, (even if America had a president other than an Obama think-alike)? May I propose a hint, please? Israeli survival and that of all nations, since the inception of the Nuclear Age, will depend on a human species-wide rejection of the arbitrary rule of ideologues who claim to speak for God. Only the deluded believe they speak for God. There will be no peace of 100 years when Ayatollah fingers are on nuclear triggers.

  • brenrod

    Halevy comments absurd, how can Israel be assured for 1000 years. How can Israel prevent a first strike… Halevy never supported his assertions with any facts.

  • Nazi Germany also believed that its existence was guaranteed for the next 1,000 years — that is why it was called: “the 1,000-year reich“.

    Considering the uncountable numbers of enemies that Israel has, anyone who says that its continued existence is guaranteed is a fool among fools.

    Please read my pro-Israel post on the Shiloh Musings blog: