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(Commentary by Oded Granot, "Ma'ariv", Feb 25, 1998, p. A2)
Danny Yatom did the right thing yesterday, even if he was forced to do it.
Even if he thought all along that he should stay and fight for his honor
in court.
The resignation was required not only because of the harsh criticism
directed by the commission of inquiry at Yatom's performance and thinking,
and its pointing to his "fixation" in its investigation of the Masha'al
affair. The main reason is because the position of Director of the Mossad
is built entirely on trust, on the part of those who appointed him, his
subordinates, and those on the opposing side, with whom he maintains
secret contacts.
The Masha'al affair led to a loss of trust between the Mossad director and
the Prime Minister. The moment that Netanyahu announced that he would
decide on Yatom's future only after he had read the Ciechanover report,
and when it became clear that his reading of the report was dragging on,
Yatom had to understand that the Prime Minister was pointing him toward
the exit.
As a commander, Yatom had also lost the confidence of some of his
subordinates. Mainly when he tried to minimize his responsibility in the
carrying out of such a sensitive operation, and stress the failure of the
operative echelon. He lost the confidence of the directors of the GSS and
Military Intelligence when he insisted on his account that he had briefed
them on the operation in Amman, against their account that he had not
briefed them. And he lost the confidence of King Hussein, who saw in the
attempted assassination a "personal betrayal" by the Mossad director, and
ordered the cessation of security cooperation between the two sides.
Yatom's resignation goes some way toward solving the problem of the
relationship with Jordan, but his replacement will have to deal with the
problem of rehabilitating the Mossad.
The Mossad now needs a creative director, a leader who will be able to
dissociate himself from the "fixation", reorganize the operational branch,
recruit the appropriate people to key posts which become available, and
change -- inter alia -- the rules regarding compartmentalization. This is
so that the next time, whoever needs to know about the operation, will
know, and perhaps thus, failure can be prevented.
From owner-israel-mideast@PANKOW.INTER.NET.IL  Sun Mar  1 08:14:12 1998
Subject:      Unavoidable - "Ma'ariv", Feb 25, 1998
Status: O
        Information Division, Israel Foreign Ministry - Jerusalem
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         Note: The translations of articles from the Hebrew press
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              as a service to foreign journalists in Israel.
                 They express the views of the authors.

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