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Shin Bet chief warns Israel’s internal strife provides shot in the arm for terrorism

Ronen Bar says intel shows enemies feel the Jewish state’s ‘national resilience is fading,’ claims ‘deep rift’ in society is ‘most complex’ challenge facing Israel

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar speaks at the annual conference of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism Policy (ICT) at Reichman University in Herzliya on September 11, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar speaks at the annual conference of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism Policy (ICT) at Reichman University in Herzliya on September 11, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar on Sunday said the security agency has identified that Israel’s political instability and internal discord have encouraged terror groups and individuals to commit attacks.

“From the intelligence that we have read, from the interrogations of attackers we have conducted, and also from many years of familiarity with our adversaries, wherever they are, we can say today without a shadow of a doubt that the political instability, the growing internal strife… are an encouragement to the axis of evil, to the terror organizations and individual attackers,” Bar said at a conference at Herzliya’s Reichman University.

He said the “deep rift that is developing within Israeli society” is the “most complex” challenge it is facing.

“The prevailing feeling among our adversaries is that our historical advantage, our national resilience, is fading,” Bar warned.

“This insight should trouble us more than anything else. In this matter the Shin Bet can only warn, it certainly cannot deal with it,” he said. “It is in the hands of each and every one of us.”

Last year, former Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman warned of rising incitement and hate speech on social media as then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was close to being ousted after a 12-year rule.

Now-former prime minister Naftali Bennet and his fellow Yamina party members faced intense attacks for their decision to join the so-called “change government.”

Ultimately, the government fell apart mostly due to pressure on Yamina lawmakers to defect to the pro-Netanyahu bloc, sending Israel into its fifth election since 2019, which will be held on November 1.

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