Ronen Bergman’s new study of Israel’s decades of targeted assassinations is filled with fresh disclosures and myth-busting revelations. These are just a few
By David Horovitz | The Times of Israel
Ronen Bergman’s “Rise and Kill First,” a 630-page chronicle of “targeted assassinations” by Israel, pre-state and in the 70 years of statehood, is filled with frequently staggering revelations and claims. The author, who said he carried out 1,000 interviews, gained access and pored through innumerable crates of previously unpublished documents, and worked on the book for eight years, highlighted some of the most dramatic disclosures in a two-hour interview with The Times of Israel.
Some of his discoveries shed new light on familiar episodes. Others venture into hitherto entirely unfamiliar territory.
Mossad had Mengele in its sights in 1962, but ‘chose to leave it’
On July 23, 1962, Mossad operatives Rafi Eitan and Zvi Aharoni observed Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele leaving his farm in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with some bodyguards. They anticipated kidnapping him and bringing him back to Israel for trial, Eichmann-style. But their sighting coincided with the test-firing by Egypt’s President Nasser of the missiles he’d been secretly developing, Bergman said, “and they were called back to the Middle East.”
A year later, Mossad chief Isser Harel left the service, and from then on, until 1977, Bergman said, “all Mossad chiefs and all Israeli prime ministers made Nazi war criminals the lowest priority.” So the notion that the Mossad, in those crucial years, went looking for Nazi war criminals, is plain false, Bergman said, and documentedly so. “Generally speaking, Israeli intelligence did not hunt Nazi war criminals.”