Rise and Kill First by Ronen Bergman

Rise and Kill First

The first definitive history of the Mossad, Shin Bet, and the IDF’s targeted killing programs, from the man hailed by David Remnick as “arguably [Israel’s] best investigative reporter” 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, p...

Details Rise and Kill First

TitleRise and Kill First
Release DateJan 30th, 2018
PublisherRandom House
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Cultural, Israel, Politics, War, Spy Thriller, Espionage

Reviews Rise and Kill First

  • Steven Z.
    When the state of Israel achieved nationhood in 1948 it was seen as an ethical and moral experiment because of the role the Holocaust played in its creation, along with its dominant Jewish culture. Residing in a geographical region that had nothing but hatred for the new state it would be difficult to expect Israel to maintain the high standards that were expected of it. The difficulty would morph into a nation that had to protect itself from inv...
  • Gokulakrishnan Saravanan
    My feelings after reading this book is sense of despondency on the Israel’s political establishment. Title of the last chapter succinctly captures the result of Israel's targeted killings: ''Impressive tactical success, Disastrous strategic failure''. The author could have easily turned this book into Israel’s glorification/bashing. But his even handedness made this book such a great read. Since this book deals with so much military operation...
  • Murtaza
    This is a really remarkable history of the violence undertaken by the modern Zionist movement, starting all the way back from Mandate Palestine, the wars against the postcolonial Arab states, and ending with the present conflict between Israel and the Iranian-led "Axis of Resistance." The author gets incredible access to the people involved in executing military and clandestine operations on behalf of the Mossad, Shin Bet and AMAN over the past s...
  • Samuel
    The Badass Israeli Assassin....this is an archetype that has glued itself to the public imagination. More cunning, more professional, more stylish than their bumbling goody two shoes gentile counterparts, there are many grains of truth in this image. Since its creation, the state of Israel has developed a highly sophisticated paramilitary capability to annihilate the enemies of the Jewish people from Buenos Aires to Damascus and those who decide ...
  • Vika Ryabova
    Впечатляющий труд, с массой подробностей о подготовке операций, вербовке агентов, методах убийств и пр. Отдавая должное эффективности агентств, автор рассказывает и о дурацких провалах, и о близорукости руководства, и делает вывод, что насилие п...
  • David Quinn
    This must have been an incredibly difficult book to write considering the extreme secrecy surrounding Israel's military and security forces. To his credit, Bergman cites many former sources within the establishment who have both positive and negative opinions to express. While the reporting generally felt balanced it's only from the Israeli perspective. The early stories of assassinations felt a but one-dimensional but considering they date back ...
  • Joseph Stieb
    Dang. This is a phenomenal book that is eye-opening in so many ways. Going all the way back to early Zionism, this book charts Israeli covert action against its myriad enemies. The programs Bergman describes have been one of Israel's major national security tools. They fit with an Israeli focus on pre-emption, massive retaliation, as well as a national sense that no one will save the Jews except themselves. The extent to which the Holocaust perme...
  • Samuel
    A CLOSER LOOK: Among general pop culture, there are some perceptions and stereotypes of spies by nationality. The British are either suave and smooth talking, or morose, depressed arse covering beuracrats, but ones who take gathering useful intelligence seriously. The Americans are either the Christians In Action who can’t help but make a bad situation worse, or are blundering and violently jingoistic and incomptent with their militarized appro...
  • Richard
    Four stars for a general reader, five for those of us really interested in Israel.The title is taken from a line in the Talmud, “If someone comes to kill you, rise up and kill him first,” and is used as justification for everything from retribution/revenge murders (assassinations,) to preemptive kills, to blowing up Iran’s nuclear reactor. It is, I suppose, good advice, especially if you’re surrounded by enemies, and facing an existential...
  • Marcella Wigg
    My favorite book of the year so far!I've been looking for a comprehensive history of Israel's targeted assassinations since the clumsy video-recorded assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai made headlines worldwide in 2010, and finally, I have found it: a truly comprehensive, journalistic, and enlightening look at the history of Israel's targeted killing program from the days preceding the 1948 foundation of the state to nearly the present d...
  • Ronin2
    It is an unpleasant topic and a more unpleasant reality for Israel. The author is even handed in his dislike for assassination but recognizing Israel's necessity for doing them. Most valuable for me was it gave me a better understanding of the real and evolving threats Israel has faced and faces today. I now understand better the threat Iran poses to Israel and the world. I understand better how the threat to Israel has evolved from conventional ...
  • Budd Margolis
    This book is one of the very best academic intense history of any national intelligence entity ever comprised. Throughout this book, we are faced with the many moralities of decisions to take life and the results some of which were effective and some counterproductive. You are presented with background and political intrigue and often wonder at how organizations can run amok with hubris and ignorance, vengeance and desperation and then emerge wit...
  • Laura
    One of the surprises in this book was the number of times Israel's intelligence community (the Mossad, Shin Bet, et al) completely botched a job. Going into the book I had unconsciously imagined that Israeli spies and commandos were complete masters of the field, and my pre-conceived image was only brought into my conscious mind as the book began tearing it to shreds. I don't know if it was more fun reading about the failures or the successes; ei...
  • Vheissu
    ...the intelligence community's very success fostered the illusion among most of the nation's leaders that covert operations could be a strategic and not just a tactical tool--that they could be used in place of real diplomacy to end the geographic, ethnic, religious, and national disputes in which Israel is mired. Because of the phenomenal successes of Israel's covert operations, at this stage in its history the majority of its leaders have elev...
  • Michael
    Engaging history of Israel's use of targeted assassinations to combat its enemies from its early struggles for independence through its ongoing conflicts with Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran. Bergman's account draws heavily on interviews with many of the principal Israeli decision-makers and concludes by asking whether Israeli's impressive tactical successes have resulted in an overall strategic failure. The book raises fundamental questions tha...
  • Dan
    Beset on all sides.There will always be a war.Know more than they do.
  • Anirvan Ghosh
    From the days of Israel’s founding to the present, it has been surrounded by hostile neighbors who first tried to destroy the fledging state, and then have continued to support terrorist organizations that attack Israel with rockets and suicide bombers. To its credit, Israel managed to win all wars until 2006 - conventional or otherwise - that it was thrust into, most famously the one in 1948, when it defeated the combined armies of Egypt, Syri...
  • Dovie Rosenberg
    Rise and Kill First opens with a history of the founding of Israel from the perspective of underground organizations in Mandatory Palestine. Critical for the defense of the Yishuv, these groups were the precursors to Israel's modern security and intelligence establishment. The "dirty work" they performed has often been glossed over for apologetic reasons, and Bergman is worth reading for these initial chapters alone.From those early days, Israeli...
  • Dоcтоr
    If you have read the books 'Gideon's Spies' and 'The Gatekeepers', there might not be much new to you in this book. Some additional details and recent events have been added. If not, then I certainly recommend that you read this book.Very well written, with a chronological timeline. Touching the issues that the other nations are only recently have to ponder: The legal aspects, and when/how can be the targeted eliminations be applied ?.
  • Tim
    One of the best books I've read in a while. Tells a great story
  • Holly
    I find it a conundrum to review this book as I want to give it 4 stars yet I have to confess that I stopped reading it at 400 pages. It's an amazing compendium and history of the secret operations of Israel's assassination program which I found to be well researched, well written and incredibly interesting. Told chronologically from before the time when Israel was a recognized state, this book describes the "victories" and failures of such secret...
  • Diogenes
    Lest we forget, all things ongoing are rooted in deeply complex histories, and while the echo rings true of how one person’s “terrorist” is some other’s “freedom fighter”, just as much as any soldier can be a war criminal when accountability is marshaled, all the euphemisms in any language cannot justify cold-blooded murder, be it by poisoned toothpaste, a suicide bomb-vest, or drones wielding smart munitions. Just last week an NPR re...
  • Alexis
    This is a very detailed history of Israel's targeted assassination program, and to a lesser extent of its intelligence services. Ronen Bergman was able to interview many of the figures involved, and it's sobering and fascinating reading. Bergman doesn't shy from a moral judgment of the program: that although it was superficially successful, it came at a huge moral cost, and that Israeli leaders became overly reliant on it as a tool to avoid first...
  • Adam Rosenbaum
    "Rise and Kill First" is both a phrase from the Talmud and also the name of a new tell-all book by Israeli journalist and military advisor Ronen Bergman. I found it both fascinating and horrifying. Bergman chronicles the evolution of Israels' state sponsored "targeted killing" campaign, (assassinations). Behind the scene details are chronicled as hundreds of killing missions are retold. It's gripping stuff, the details, both the successes and fai...
  • Pekka Termonen
    This is an important book, an eye-opener. Israel, this tiny nation has conducted hundreds and hundreds of targeted killings or assassinations or murders if you want to use that word. Hundreds of civilians have also been killed. Israel has broken international law without regret. A sad and scary book. This is not the way to peace. The other side has committed similar crimes. Revenge after revenge. The more than 120 years old phrase "One man's terr...
  • Socraticgadfly
    Informative in many ways, but NOT in one HUGE wayThis book is great for documenting how Mossad (foreign intell), Shin Bet (domestic intel) and Aman (military intel) combined to fight a variety of threats from various Palestinian groups, including Fatah and Hamas, plus Hezbullah in Lebanon, and Syrian and other support for some terrorists.It documents types of operations, targets, successes, some slip-ups, organizational lapses and overhauls, and ...
  • Grommit
    You can read the synopsis elsewhere. My 2 cents:How could Israel allow the publication of this book? It revealed a catalog of sanctioned killings: some succeeded, some failed. But, the secrets - names, dates, players...amazing.The reasons for actually performing these killings are clear: a history of being shunned in the world, capped by the extermination of millions during WWII, and, the day after finally proclaiming the Israeli state...Israel w...
  • Adam Yoshida
    Comprehensively Researched and ImpressveThis book, a history of the various targeted killing measures adopted by the intelligence services of the State of Israel, is clearly a product of thorough research . It is well-written and impressive in its scope, spanning all of Israel’s history and doing a good job of providing. a behind-the-scenes view of how Israeli policy and actions developed and evolved.My sole reservation. Is that, as it approach...
  • Adam Christian Smith
    Considering I lived through a lot of the history in this book yet heard not a peep of reporting on most of the missions/acts that Mossad and other Israeli special services participated in. Their methods and modus operandi are frightening to me - of course I have nothing to fear as I don't plot against nations.I highly suggest this read if you wonder what Israel has to put up with as far as being surrounded by neighbors that rather wish Israel did...
  • Samuel
    “It is very hard to predict how history will proceed after someone is shot in the head.” As someone who used to enjoy spy novels quiet a bit, I can’t deny there were quiet a few chapters that brought out that same thrill in me. And then you get to the number of casualties and you realize the subtle bias in which side’s victims get precise counts and which side just gets “dozens and dozens” An assymetry you also get in the American mis...