A little over a week ago, in the early morning of April 21st, Fadi Al-Batsh was walking down a road in Gombak, a suburb of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. He was on his way to the local mosque for dawn prayers. Suddenly, two men on a motorcycle drove up, drew their pistols and gunned down Al batsh with no less than 14 bullets before driving off.
Seven years prior to his assassination, Fadi Al-Batsh had moved to Malaysia from Gaza to research and acquire weapon systems and drones for Hamas, the ruling power in the strip. This, ostensibly, made him a target for Israel’s international spy agency, the Mossad.
Of course, this is not the first such mission undertaken by the clandestine organization. The Mossad, along with the other branches of Israel’s intelligence apparatus, has a long, dark and often contentious history of targeted assassinations dating back to the very founding of the state.
If we listed the qualifications and accomplishments of Dr. Ronen Bergman, we’d have no time left to talk about his incredible new book, Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations. Suffice it to say that Dr. Bergman is a senior political and military analyst for Yedioth Aharonot, Israel’s largest daily newspaper, he’s been a guest lecturer at countless universities including Princeton, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge (where he received his PhD in history), he’s written for numerous international newspapers including the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and The Times and finally, he deserves a special congratulations for recently becoming a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine.
We are thrilled to be joined today by Dr. Ronen Bergman to talk about his new book and Israel’s history of covert killings.