Former Mossad chief says IDF was ordered to prepare attack on Iran in 2011

In an interview with Ovda’s Ilana Dayan, former Mossad head Tamir Pardo revealed that he questioned the legality of the prime minister’s order and even considered resigning.
Israeli F-15 Photo Credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash 90

Former Mossad head Tamir Pardo has revealed he almost resigned from his post following a serious confrontation between himself and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In an interview with Ilana Dayan for the "Ovda" program, which will be aired on Thursday evening, Pardo said that Israel was closer than ever to an attack in Iran a few years ago. According to Pardo, Netanyahu ordered the IDF in 2011 to prepare the defense forces for a possible attack on a 15-day notice.

"This is not something that’s done for practice. If someone does it, he either means it or he wants to send a message," Pardo said when asked if he believed the attack would take place. "When he tells you to start the countdown, you understand that he is not playing games with you.”

Pardo decided in an unusual step to examine whether the Israeli prime minister was even authorized to issue an order that could lead Israel into war. "I made inquiries about everything I could do," Pardo said. "I checked with former heads of the Mossad and with legal advisors. I consulted with anyone I could to understand who was authorized to give instructions on any subject related to starting a war."

The former Mossad chief stated that he wanted to make sure that the order was not illegal but added that Netanyahu was aware of the inquiries "In the end, if I receive an order, and if I receive an order from the prime minister, I am supposed to carry it out," Pardo stated. "I have to be certain that if something goes wrong or even if the operation fails, there will be no situation in which I committed an illegal act." When asked whether from his point of view an attack on Iran was like a decision to start a war, Pardo replied: "It’s pure and simple."

Netanyahu was said to have retracted his initial decision following the strong opposition of Pardo and former Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. However, Pardo revealed that at some point he had considered resigning: "When the prime minister gives orders, you have two options – to follow through with it or to quit.”



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