Yuval Diskin, former head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) participated in the conference "Hostages – a Question of Price" organized by "Friends of Ron Arad" in collaboration with the Ono Academic College.
Diskin told journalist Liat Regev that, "The State of Israel has completely betrayed those who were kidnapped and murdered in the first days of the October 7th Hamas attack, and they continue to pay the price. This is a betrayal of every baby, every child, every mother and every father who was kidnapped from the Gaza region communities."
Regarding the hostage deal, he said, "I used to be an extreme opponent of prisoner deals, of all for all, and favored proportional prisoner exchanges. Today I have changed my thinking by 180 degrees, and I am in favor."
Diskin attacked Prime Minister Netanyahu and claimed that he was suffering from shell shock for the first two weeks after the attack, and the government did not function at all. Help was provided only by voluntary organizations and Israeli civilians.
Did the Shin Bet have a prospective scenario of what happened on October 7th?
"Already during my service, we saw that Hamas was moving in the direction of mass kidnappings and large operations. The scenario was well known in advance. But when you are a captive of a certain concept, they can put a pink elephant in the room and convince you that it's a little yellow cat," he said.
Diskin mentioned hostage Avera Mengistu and said, "Until October 7th, the State valued soldiers and their bodies to a greater extent. When it comes to a black-skinned Ethiopian Jew and a Bedouin from the Negev, Israeli society should have a good look in the mirror."
The former head of the Shin Bet supports two states for two nations, but right now "we don't have a partner," he emphasized. "The US should be involved in this process, but the question is whether Biden will win the elections. For us, too, the question is who will rule, and will it be Netanyahu, who continues to lead us to destruction."
Was the elimination of Hamas leader, Yahya Sinwar, on the agenda? "When you (Netanyahu) send IDF Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, and former Director of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, to convince Qatar to continue sending suitcases of money to Gaza, you probably don't want to get rid of Sinwar. The Prime Minister did not want to deal with a confrontation, in which he would have had to get rid of Sinwar."
"I was the head of the Shin Bet until 2011 and I pushed to initiate the Cast Lead military operation in 2008, and Olmert went along with me. We did not overthrow Hamas, because Barak and Olmert fought, Barak closed a deal with the Egyptians without notifying Olmert, and the opportunity was lost."