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TV7 Israel Watchmen Talk - Amb. Carmi Gillon Former ISA (Shin Bet) Chief (Part 1)

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Published on 17 Sep 2023 / In News and Politics

Please join host Amir Oren for an interview with Amb. Carmi Gillon, former SHABAK Chief.

Carmi Gillon was naturally delighted when Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin appointed him Chief of Israel’s Internal Security Agency, aka SHABAK. The time was early 1995, some 20 years after Gillon, following a somewhat hazardous military service, joined this secret organisation dedicated to fighting terror, espionage and subversion.

Less than a year later, his delight turned to despair, as, on his watch, Rabin was assassinated. SHABAK had completely failed. None of the Intelligence Experts, the Jewish Targets Department, or the bodyguards, had made any difference. The assassin succeeded in his crime without even being shot at. Gillon offered his resignation to the new Prime Minister, Shimon Peres, which was first denied, but eventually accepted.

This was without question Gillon’s major life-shaping event, and he openly speaks about its psychological effect on him. But in spite of this he did hold a distinguished record up to that point and afterwards he managed several successful careers. These include being an ambassador, a mayor and novelist, the latter focusing on espionage and intrigue.

On this show Gillon discusses his upbringing as part of the emerging Israeli legal and security elites – his father was a state attorney, his mother a deputy attorney general, his brother a judge, and his sister married the first Mossad Chief’s son, also a Mossad officer. He recounts the harrowing story of the Israeli contingent in Tehran during Khomeini’s Revolution, and on a softer note, explains his admiration as a practitioner-turned-writer for John Le Carre.

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