For decades, Efraim Halevy rarely spoke his mind in public. As a storied agent traveling the globe in the service of Israel’s Mossad, as a respected diplomat representing Israel in Brussels, as the director of Mossad after one of its worst crises and then as the head of Israel’s National Security Council, he was, as he titled his memoirs, a “Man in the Shadows.”
Now entering his 83rd year, Halevy has shrugged off his professionally imposed silence, emerging into the limelight as a trenchant observer of the urgent strategic challenges facing his country.
Times of Israel readers will have a chance to hear him for themselves when he is interviewed live on stage in Jerusalem by founding editor David Horovitz on February 26.
Halevy has avoided the path to politics taken by other former intelligence chiefs, preferring an academic career which has allowed him the freedom to speak his mind about the major issues he has spent a lifetime not only studying, but helping to shape.
Most recently, he dismissed the upper echelons of Israel’s leaders, saying they weren’t capable of handling the questions facing Israel.
Halevy was often called upon to undertake sensitive diplomatic missions because of his unique understanding of the region, and of the role that an intelligence officer could play in an arena where his country was surrounded by enemies.
His personal friendship with Jordan’s King Hussein, forged over decades of clandestine contacts, became one of the foundations for the peace treaty with the Hashemite Kingdom and of the security understandings that have helped secure Israel’s long eastern flank for a generation. Those ties were re-ignited to save the peace treaty from the disaster of the botched attempted assassination of Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in 1998; Halevy’s crisis-solving propelled him from semi-retirement into the Mossad director’s chair.
As Mossad chief, Halevy formulated the policy which marginalized Yasser Arafat in the world arena after the violence of the second intifada, but he appears to favor the possibility of creating unofficial understandings even with enemies like Hamas and Hezbollah in order to overcome even greater enemies like al-Qaeda and ISIS.
“We will be obliged to sup with the devil, but we must beware at all times that he does not poison our chalice,” Halevy wrote in “Man in the Shadows.”
As The Economist noted in reviewing his memoir, “Mr. Halevy has plainly had a lot of interesting suppers.”
Sunday, February 26
EFRAIM HALEVY former Mossad director
in conversation with David Horovitz
8:00PM Hirsch Theater, Bet Shmuel
(Doors open 7:45PM)
Tickets available HERE.
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