Some Quiet, Please!

Israel, Ma'ariv

By Amos Gilboa 


Combination of the “noises” with lack of order hides within itself a great danger of mistakes by the decision makers. 


Translated by Viktoria Lymar

Edited by Steven Stenzler


27 February 2012 


The common interest of all sides in the Iranian issue – to “make noises” – makes it difficult to listen to the chords.  Every stumble on the subject could be disastrous.


It seems that the primary source of the Israeli citizen’s concern today is uncertainty regarding what’s happening and what will happen with respect to Iran. Will Israel assault? Will it attack without the agreement of the United States? Are the Americans trying to stop us with all their strength? Is this about an Israeli-American conspiracy? Will Iran run first and launch a preemptive strike? Is the summer the deadline when the offensive is possible? Will the United States really not let Iran develop nuclear capability? Is the Iranian regime rational? Will the sanctions really make Iran stop its activities towards attaining military nuclear capacity?

These are just a few questions repeatedly asked and grinded finely in long-winded debates and commentaries. I sat with a friend of mine, Dr. Chaim Yavetz, and we discussed this issue. We asked ourselves: Does the Israeli Prime Minister have answers? Does he know what the Israeli citizen expects? Our conclusion was negative, since a lot of influential factors are unknown to him, and definitely not the dynamics between them.

And what if we ask our Defense Minister, Ehud Barak? In all likelihood, he too is in Netanyahu’s situation, although he analyses well the nuances of dozens of combinations of the influencing factors. Is the American President Barack Obama aware of what is going on and what is likely to occur, after all the emissaries he sent to Israel? Our assessment was that he has no idea either, like the other decision makers in the West. And are Ahmedinejad and Khamenei aware? A big question mark.

Israel Is at the Top of the Noise Generators


What does all this mean, and what do we see and hear in these days? We’re facing a phenomenon known as “noises.” This is a term taken from the field of music, and it bears a meaning that the existence of noises impedes hearing the tunes of the melody or the right “singles.”

Researcher of the Pearl Harbor surprise [attack] in 1941, Roberta Wohlstetter, has brought this term to the world of intelligence when she showed that the real information about the ambush, the correct intel on what is anticipated to happen, is flooded with phony news, with bogus info, with idle chatter; that is, with “jamming sounds” which do not allow us to discern the accurate reports, the singles.

In the current reality, all the decision makers ruling on the Iranian subject matter, including the Iranian leaders, are producing a sequence of noises, everyone for his own reasons. At the head of the noisemakers, there is positioned the State of Israel. In order to increase the uproar and add some black smoke to the “noises,” there comes the media, both here in Israel and in the West, and amplifies them by the virtue of its media function.


There Is Long Since No Global Order


The problem of these “noises” is that they pop up on the background of disorder everyplace. There’s no world order since a long while, although, the President Obama has only intensified it: from the moment he rose to power over three years ago, he refrained from trying to formulate international game rules with Russia and China, and instead of that, headed to embrace the Muslim world, and has been counting on the U.N. to solve the global problems.

There certainly isn’t regional order in our Middle East – there is only anarchy and total unpredictability; an internal order is nonexistent, too: the United States is having an election year, and Obama’s desire to get re-elected to the presidency constitutes the key factor affecting his foreign policy; in Israel – there is no order even at the Prime Minister’s Office; in France – there are elections at the door; in Iran – major domestic tension…

The combination of the “noises” with a lack of order hides within itself a great danger of mistakes from the side of the decision makers. We find ourselves on a slippery slope where any little misstep, also of the operational elements, may lead to rolling downhill – to the abyss.  

Israel has control over the “noises” emanating from it. In my opinion, rather than the Prime Minister would send his government secretary to take the key and close the door1, he himself needs to lock the mouths from top to bottom: starting with the President of the country, through all the ministers’ offices and down to the smallest officials. Absolutely, without any discounts and authorizations.


The author is Brigadier General (res.), advisor on intelligence affairs to the Israeli intelligence community and lecturer on intelligence. He has held several senior positions in the Intelligence Corps and in the Intelligence Department of the IDF General Staff, most recently as Head of the Research Division. He also served as Advisor to the Prime Minister on Arab Affairs and as Advisor to the Defense Minister.


Original Hebrew article:



1. Reference to an unseemly story that took place in front of the TV cameras at one of the government meetings when Netanyahu rebuked his cabinet secretary…