The most pressing threat to Israel is not Iran, but rather the increased polarization within Israeli society, former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo said in his first public appearance since leaving office in June.
“There is no outside existential threat to Israel, the only real existential threat is internal division,” Pardo said at an annual event to honor fallen Druse soldiers in the North.
“Internal division,” Pardo said, “can lead us to civil war – we are already on a path toward that. If a society crosses a certain line in its division and hatred, it is a real possibility to see a phenomenon like a civil war.”
Society at large bears responsibility to prevent these divisions, not just the leadership, he added.
In response to reporter’s questions, Pardo also addressed the Palestinian issue, saying that without a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “we will never be able to achieve normalization with our Arab neighbors.”
The comments on relations with the Palestinians came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly hailed improved diplomatic relations with moderate Arab countries in the region.
Pardo also took issue with the Defense Ministry’s statement earlier this month that compared the deal between the six world powers and Iran to curb Tehran’s nuclear program with the 1938 Munich agreement that allowed Nazi Germany to annex portions of Czechoslovakia.
“You can’t compare squash and grapes. What happened a century ago is different from what is occurring today,” Pardo said. “History does not repeat itself.”