Gad Shimron: Israel Never Forgets…
28th of November
On November 28, the Center for Transatlantic Relations (PCTR) organized a debate “Israel Never Forgets…” with Gad Shimron. The discussion was moderated by PCTR member Tomáš Pojar. The event took place in partnership with ZEĎ Publishing, which officially introduced the Czech translation of Shimron’s book “Execution of the Hangman of Riga“.
In the opening remarks of the debate, Shimron highlighted Czechoslovakia’s assistance to Israel during the first Arab-Israeli war. As a former long-time operative of Mossad, he gave his expert views on the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. He discussed that Hamas has been significantly supported by Iran or Hezbollah, whether in terms of arming, financing, or training the fighters. It has been gradually revealed that several members of security services registered certain warnings, but they were not taken seriously. According to him, only smaller attacks along the borders were expected, and no one anticipated a war of such magnitude. “It’s the biggest defeat in the history of the state of Israel,” Shimron further added, saying that Hamas’s October 7 attack is like the attack on Pearl Harbor. On the other hand, he noted that the Hamas leadership did not anticipate that Israel would unify and organize a retaliation within 24 hours.
Currently, the IDF’s goal is to rescue hostages, posing a significant challenge to Israeli political representation and society. However, after rescuing all remaining hostages, there may be an issue of losing international support in a ground operation in Gaza. He also said that Israel has the support of several Arab countries “behind closed doors,” in the task of destroying Hamas. The supporting states are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.
Shimron currently refrains from making predictions about developments in Gaza after Hamas’s defeat. Questions arise about whether Israel should return to the Gaza Strip, who will rebuild Gaza if/when Egypt is not interested, or what its overall future will be. Shimron does not know if there is any plan for Gaza’s recovery in Israel yet. Until Gaza and its surroundings are secure, no Israelis will want to live there. However, Shimron sees the future optimistically. He compared it to his own experiences when, after several years since the war with Egypt, he arrived in Cairo by plane for vacation instead of arriving in a tank.
Gad Shimron is a journalist, commentator, and writer, a former Mossad agent. He has published seven fiction and non-fiction books on intelligence, security, and the history of the Crusaders in Hebrew, English, French, or German. Among the most successful are “The Mossad and Its Myth” (1997), “The Execution of the Hangman of Riga” (1998, with Anton Künzle), “Mossad Exodus” (1998), “Satan in Holyland” (1998), “Can’t Be” (1999), and “Spatial Army” (2007).
One of the most popular works is the account of Mossad’s operation to rescue Ethiopian Jews from Sudan, which Shimron actively participated in from 1984 to 1991, titled “Mossad Exodus: The Daring Undercover Rescue of the Lost Jewish Tribe.” The mission with the code name “Brothers” became a modern Zionist legend. A Netflix film, “Red Sea Diving Resort,” was later made based on the book.
The PCTR debate introduced the Czech book novelty ” The Execution of the Hangman of Riga ” (ZEĎ, 2023), describing the elimination of the Nazi criminal Herberts Cukurs, who was involved in the mass murder of Latvian Jews during World War II. The book was co-written with Anton Künzle, a legendary Mossad agent who carried out the actual liquidation. It recounts how the trust of Cukurs was gained, and he was lured from Brazil to Uruguay, where Cukurs’ fate was sealed.