NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF's targeted killing programs.
The Talmud says: "If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first." This instinct to take every measure, even the most aggressive, to defend the Jewish people is hardwired into Israel's DNA. From the very beginning of its statehood in 1948, protecting the nation from harm has been the responsibility of its intelligence community and armed services, and there is one weapon in their vast arsenal that they have relied upon to thwart the most serious threats: Targeted assassinations have been used countless times, on enemies large and small, sometimes in response to attacks against the Israeli people and sometimes preemptively.
In this page-turning, eye-opening book, journalist and military analyst Ronen Bergman - praised by David Remnick as "arguably [Israel's] best investigative reporter" - offers a riveting inside account of the targeted killing programs: their successes, their failures, and the moral and political price exacted on the men and women who approved and carried out the missions.
Built from interviews with Israeli Prime Ministers as well as high-level figures in Mossad, and the country's military and intelligence services - Rise and Kill First includes never-before-reported, behind-the-curtain accounts of key operations, and based on hundreds of on-the-record interviews and thousands of previously unseen files. Bergman traces, from statehood to the present, the gripping events and thorny ethical questions underlying Israel's targeted killing campaign, which has shaped the Israeli nation, the Middle East, and the entire world.
About the Author
Ronen Bergman is the senior correspondent for military and intelligence affairs for Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's largest daily paid newspaper, and a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, where he reports on intelligence, national security, terrorism, and nuclear issues. Bergman is the author of five bestselling Hebrew-language nonfiction books and The Secret War with Iran, which was published in the United States by Free Press. Bergman is the recipient of the Sokolow Prize, Israel's most esteemed award for journalism, and the B'nai B'rith International Press Award, among other honors.
A member of the Israeli bar, he graduated with honors from the University of Haifa Faculty of Law and clerked in the attorney general's office. A winner of a Chevening Scholarship from the British Foreign Office, he received a master's in international relations from Cambridge University, where he was also awarded his PhD in history.
Ronen Bergman has set out in incontestable detail the history and scale of Israel's use of extrajudicial killing as an instrument of defense and foreign policy. His material is stark and sensational, but he steers a steady course through it, even pausing along the way to debate the effectiveness and morality of his subject. The result is a compelling read whatever your point of view. - John le Carre
A gripping investigation of Israel's assassination policy - Sunday Times
Remarkable - Observer
A masterpiece! Only Ronen Bergman's extraordinary research could have achieved it - Christopher Andrew, author of 'The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History of MI5'
Exciting, sometimes moving and always considered...Not only is Bergman's book a stunning feat of research and a riveting read, it is also testament to the author's personal courage - Sunday Times
For this impressive work of reportage, the author not only spoke to hundreds of Israeli spies but also convinced them to hand over a trove of documents. Then he constructed a thrilling narrative of extreme bravery and compromised morality - Economist
The Israeli government did its best to prevent Bergman from writing this ...fascinating new book about the history of Israeli assassinations, published during Israel's seventieth anniversary year. Rise and Kill First not only sheds light on that most secretive of subjects, Israel's intelligence services, but also has wider significance: how and why a state uses extra-judicial killing, and the consequences of doing so. - TLS
Terrific ... It's easy to understand why Bergman's book is already a bestseller. It moves at a torrid pace and tells stories that would make Jason Bourne sit up and say 'Wow!' It is smart, thoughtful and balanced. - The New York Times Book Review