What Daniel Silva’s Israeli-Themed Tales of Espionage Can Teach the West

Sept. 27 2021

In over twenty novels, the American author Daniel Silva has related the adventures of a dashing Mossad operative named Gabriel Allon. While these books are action-packed page-turners—and best sellers—they also offer something more than the typical thriller, argues Henry George:

Allon is . . . afflicted by history. He and his comrades bear the scars on their souls of their own sorrow, reflecting on an individual level the scars on the soul of the Jewish people. This is directly addressed in the early books—The Kill Artist, The English Assassin, The Confessor, and A Death in Vienna—all of which deal with aspects of the Shoah and attacks on Israel during the second intifada. . . . The clarity of Silva’s prose in its description of the horror allows it to sink into one’s bones. The book reminds the reader that this rupture in history is still with us in the survivors who remain, having done their best to piece together their shattered lives and spirits.

[An] attachment to family and faith is why even though the weight of the past presses down on Allon and his family, his team, and his people, it does not crush them. These novels are a restatement of the sanctity of the individual, and our capacity to act on the stage of world affairs and drive the chariot of history one way or another through our own efforts. Allon and his friends and comrades are far from powerless pawns in a deterministic universe devoid of agency. Nor are they simply victims who face the world with their manifest pain as their only calling card to membership of the human community.

Allon and his fellows are willing to kill and die for their country and its people. . . . In this way, Israel reminds those of us in the safe, prosperous, and senescent West what it means to be a nation in history. This arguably explains a good deal of the resentment many Europeans feel towards the Jewish state. Those they tried to kill not only survived, but are a living, national refutation of the supposed one-way march towards a comfortable end of history.

Read more at University Bookman

More about: Fiction, Israel & Zionism, Mossad


Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada