A powerful personal testimony and an urgent call for Israel to change direction, from an unexpected source: the former director of the internal security service, Shin Bet.
Raised on a kibbutz by parents who had fled the Holocaust, Ami Ayalon’s life exemplified the Zionist dream. His commitment to his country propelled a meteoric career, culminating in being named commander of the navy and receiving the Medal of Valour, Israel’s highest military decoration. All the time, he remained a staunch supporter of his country’s policies.
Then he was appointed director of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, and the unexpected happened. Forced to try and understand the lives and motivations of Palestinians for the first time, he gained empathy for ‘the enemy’ and learned that when Israel carries out anti-terrorist operations in a political context of hopelessness, the Palestinian public will support violence, because they have nothing to lose.
He came to understand that his patriotic life had blinded him to the self-defeating nature of policies that have undermined Israel’s civil society while heaping humiliation upon its neighbours. In this deeply personal journey of discovery, Ami Ayalon seeks input and perspectives from Palestinians and Israelis whose experiences differ from his own, and draws radical conclusions about what Israel must do to achieve relative peace and security.