Smotrich’s Speech – Lies Serving Incitement and the Risk for National Security


By Mr. Lior Akerman​​ | November, 2022


MK Bezalel Smotrich’s recent speech, during which he deemed it worthy to connect the Israel Security Agency (ISA), formerly known as the Shin Bet, to the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, going as far as to blame the defense organization for allegedly encouraging the killer to commit this heinous crime, received relatively little criticism from either coalition or opposition leaders in Israel, including the incumbent prime minister and prime minister elect. Several clarifications must be made in this context: Smotrich’s statements are extremely harsh, highly extreme, and very far-fetched, not to mention delusional and unsupported; however, they are not surprising in the least. These opinions are based on Smotrich’s extreme, messianic worldview. One that does not regard the ISA as a state security organization that ensures Israel’s safety, but as one that actively inhibits the vision of the future Halakhic state of Judah. From this perspective, his statements come as no surprise, and, unfortunately, even faithfully represent his position, and the views held by many among his constituency. Smotrich and his voters are not bothered in the least by the absence of any correlation between his statements and the facts on the ground, or the findings of the various commissions of inquiry; they nevertheless construct an alternative reality, delegitimizing the ISA as Israel’s national security agency. The important point here is that Smotrich is no longer just some random man on the street making unfounded accusations. He is a public elected official, an incumbent minister, and future senior member of the new government. As such, the words he utters while standing at the Knesset podium gain an air of legitimacy, perhaps even seeming as truths in the eyes and ears of some of his believers and voters. A matter of even graver concern in this context is the fact that most other elected public officials have completely ignored his speech, failing to express their disagreement with his utterances. Particularly the present and future prime ministers, who did not even bother to condemn or oppose Smotrich’s statements. These are the ISA’s direct superiors. The organization in charge of the prime minister elect’s protection did not receive direct support from him by way of countering these inciting and false proclamations.
The meaning of this disregard is nothing short of terrible. A senior government minister proffers insane, unfounded conspiracy theories, sweeps and drags entire populations along with him who tend to believe his lies, and thereby deepens and increases the rifts and divides that already exist among Israeli citizens.


I was there. I questioned people, knew all the facts, read every conclusion reached by the commissions of inquiry thoroughly, and have greater knowledge than Smotrich and his constituency ever had. There is no truth to anything he said. The ISA did indeed fail to protect Rabin and prevent his assassination. It also failed from an intelligence perspective when it did not gain enough prior knowledge of the plans made by the killer and his accessories. The ISA leadership had admitted responsibility, and resigned from their positions. But that is where it ends. The murder was committed by Yigal Amir with the help of his brother and a friend. A host of rabbis, politicians, and influencers was responsible for the incitement that had gone on for some years, yet they continue to wander free, disseminating their incitement and hatred undisturbed. Conspiracy theory fans out there should also rest assured that the famous “Champagne” (Avishai Raviv, a former ISA agent) had nothing to do with the assassination of Rabin, nor did he urge the killer to perpetrate this crime. It has all been said, written and broadcast before, but crazy unfounded conspiracy enthusiasts are unperturbed. They are relentless, putting together an alternative reality that relieves them of all accountability and culpability for this heinous assassination. And no one cries out, all remain silent. Because the only important thing now is forming a coalition and handing out lucrative jobs. Why should anyone trouble themselves with Smotrich and his enraging exclamations?


The entire political system, and especially its heads, would do well to search their souls following this affair. The Israeli political system should shun all dividing and inciting parties, prioritizing this country’s best interest over each politician’s personal ones.



Authored by Mr. Lior Akerman, a senior researcher at the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS), Reichman University.



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