J Street honors the memory of former Mossad director and IDF commander Meir Dagan, who passed away today at the age of 71.
The child of Holocaust survivors and an immigrant to Israel from the Soviet Union, Dagan dedicated his life to fierce and effective service in defense of Israel. Throughout a long career in the IDF and the Mossad, he gained a reputation for uncompromising dedication to the task of keeping Israelis safe.
For Dagan, that included both the use of force and the pursuit of peace. As the Israeli perhaps most responsible for documenting and neutralizing the Iranian nuclear program over the past 25 years, Dagan was a strong advocate for the merits of pragmatic restraint and tough diplomacy in addressing the threat. He also was a believer in the two-state solution as the only means to ultimately resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and give Israelis the security that they crave.
Late in his life, Dagan was an outspoken critic of what he viewed as perhaps the gravest threat to Israel — the lack of proactive, visionary leadership to address the nation’s challenges. As he told a political rally in March 2015, “Israel is a nation surrounded by enemies, but I am not afraid of enemies. I am frightened by our leadership. I am afraid because of the lack of vision and loss of direction.”
Perhaps the greatest tribute to Dagan comes from former President Shimon Peres who described him today as “a brave soldier like no other, a wise statesman that knew there is no military victory without a diplomatic victory.”
J Street offers our condolences to Dagan’s family and to the people of Israel.