'Revenge is acceptable, deterrence is a bluff'

General running for Labor Party leadership says Israel must adopt a policy of retaliation instead of deterrence to fight terrorism.

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Arutz Sheva Staff,

Aviram Levin
Aviram Levin
Reuven Kupichinsky

The commander of the former Sayeret Matkal elite commando unit, Major General (res.) Amiram Levin, revealed some of the boldest actions in which he took part in an interview with Channel 10.

Levin is running for the leadership of the Labor Party.

One of the actions referred to by Levin is the capture by the Sayeret Matkal commando unit of the terrorists who carried out an attack at the Savoy Hotel in Tel Aviv in 1975 in which 11 Israelis were murdered.

"After the Savoy [attack], I was beside myself. I could not stand the fact that they killed Uzi (Yairi, his former commander who was murdered in the operation that liquidated the terrorists, ed.), and I could not stand the fact that terrorists entered Tel Aviv, and the State of Israel seemed to say never mind, let it rain.

He revealed that the senior echelons in the army did not approve his retaliation plan for the deadly attack. "I tried to persuade them and brought an initial plan which was to take over a hotel in Beirut on the beach, evacuate the people, activate the emergency fire alarm, and once everyone had gone out, destroy the hotel."

According to Levin, revenge must be one of the methods used by the army. "I say that on a certain level, in fighting terror, revenge is acceptable, and it is much better than the bluff called deterrence. Revenge should be part of our fighting doctrine. I also wanted to take revenge when they killed Erez Gerstein. But there was no one who would listen."

He complained about the fear which attacks senior army officers when approving complex operations. "I received a phone call from IDF Officer Shlomo Gazit who told me: 'Your plan was rejected. [Then IDF Chief of Staff] Motti Gur is too tense about it.'" He said that he told Gazit, when was a senior officer in Military Intelligence at the time, that Gur was simply afraid of making a decision.

"I used to see generals who are not afraid. Now they give you these excuses. It is a really complex business," he said.