Israel’s Man of the Year Eluded Justice

By Mahmoud El-Yousseph

November 6, 2008



After reading about Israel’s most recent Man of the Year Award recipient, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. It looks like the judging panel at the Israeli television station Channel 2 is in need of a public relations consultant. The recipient of this year’s award was Meir Dagan, the Chief of Mossad – the Israeli foreign intelligence agency. Meir Dagan is an unindicted war criminal with Arab blood on his hands.


Major Israeli daily newspapers Haaretz and Yediot Ahronot immediately denounced the choice and described it as an embarrassment to Israelis. Haaretz ran an editorial on Mr. Dagan that was titled, “Killer of the Year”. While Yediot Ahronot described Dagan as an opportunist who does not know the meaning of humanity or sympathy.


It is amazing that a media outlet would select such a man for this prestigious title that does not make Israelis feel proud at home and respected abroad. There are several noted and noble Israeli men that come to mind who would be worthy of this distinction. Here is my short list:


* Gideon Levy, an honest and sincere Israeli journalist for the Haaretz, whom the French newspaper Le Monde described as a “thorn in Israel’s flank”. He once suggested that Israel does not need to give Palestinians anything to achieve peace, just return back what is rightfully theirs.


* Rami Elhanan, a graphic designer whose 14 year-old daughter, Smadar, was killed in 1997 in Jerusalem in a suicide attack. Instead of seeking revenge, he and his family turned their energy toward advocating peace. He and his wife have traveled the world lecturing about the need to end the suffering on both sides.


* Jeff Halper, a professor of anthropology who was the only Israeli to join 43 other international peace activists last August by sailing from Cyprus into Gaza to help break the inhumane siege of 1.5 million Palestinians. Risking his life, he was able to help deliver 200 hearing aids for Palestinian children.


Man of the Year should be reserved for those whose work and contributions help positively impact the quality of life for others and enhance the image of their country. Not Meir Dagan!



Dagan was born in 1945 in the former Soviet Union. The Dagans migrated to Israel in 1950, and at age 18, Meir Dagan enlisted in the IDF.


According to Channel 2 News political analyst, Emmanuel Rosen, Dagan has a long list that is unparalleled. He is right, and here is a brief summary:


* Meir Dagan was behind the targeted assassinations of two Lebanese businessmen and several car bombings in Beirut and Damascus.


* In the 1970s, while a unit commander in Gaza under the command of Ariel Sharon, he was given orders to hunt down Palestinian resistance fighters, capture them, and then kill them. He did. But worse than that, he personally executed prisoners of war, a war crime under the Geneva Convention. Not only that, he beheaded captives using a Japanese knife or box cutter, the same kind of weapon used by 9/11 highjackers. The head of the Southern Command at that time, Ariel Sharon took supervised the atrocities.


* In the1980s, during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, Sharon, then in the position of Defense Minister, appointed Dagan Commander of Israeli forces in South Lebanon. His mission was once again to liquidate Lebanese resistance against the Israeli occupation army. Once again the same savage and barbaric method was used by Dagan against captured Lebanese resistance fighters.


How on earth is this man not on the U.S. State Department’s “no-fly list” or “terrorist watchlist”? Why did no one know of these crimes before? What did Dagan do with severed heads of his victims? Are there witness still alive who would verify these crimes? The answer is yes.


According to stories in the Israeli press, the Israeli military censored the publication of an expose by two Israeli journalists on Dagan’s shocking atrocities.


Major Gen. [Res.] Yossi Ben Hanan is on record as having witnessed Dagan killing his captives in a heinous way. Also, after their release from duty, several Israeli soldiers who committed serious crimes stated they were influenced by the horror of what they saw and what they were ordered to do by Dagan.


Thanks, Channel 2 News, for blowing Meir Dagan’s cover. Now Arab and Western human rights organizations have already added the name of Meir Dagan to the list of Israeli military officers charged with war crimes in a European court. The court has jurisdiction to prosecute war criminals for crimes committed anywhere and at any time.


It is ironic that Israel has been engaged in hunting down Nazi war criminals all over the world for the last 60 years, but it now protects one of its own citizens who committed similar war crimes against Arabs and hails him as a hero.


Meir Dagan has eluded justice for nearly 4 decades after committing a crime against humanity. It is time for him to face the appropriate justice. His crimes will remain a stain of disgrace on the forehead of Israel.


Mahmoud El-Yousseph

Retired USAF Veteran


  1. #1 by Lasha Darkmoon on 11/07/2008 - 9:34

    In another excellent article, Retired US Veteran Mahmoud El-Yousseph tells us that Meir Dagan, Head of Mossad, has just received Israel’s prestigious Man of the Year Award. Like Ariel Sharon who advanced Dagan’s career, Dagan is a war criminal covered in blood. Chief among his claims to fame was his charming habit of personally chopping off the heads of Palestinian or Lebanese resistance fighters taken prisoner: he would do this gloatingly, and with considerable relish, using a cutlass, a kitchen knife, or a blunt boxcutter.

    Curiously enough, there is not a word in Wikipedia about any of these sanguinary activities so enjoyed by Israel’s new Man of the Year.

    Here are a few edited excerpts from a relevant article that might be of interest:

    “He’s the man who has only done good deeds. He’s the person who is famed for cutting off Palestinians’ heads with a Japanese knife. He’s the man who was born with a knife between his teeth. He’s the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan!” The hall thundered with applause when Rozin announced Dagan as man of the year.

    All of Dagan’s colleagues and acquaintances that were interviewed heaped praise on his creativity in killing Palestinians. Retired General Yossi Ben Hanan, who was a colleague of Dagan’s, was witness to his insistence on killing Palestinians himself once they were turned over to him. Ben Hanan praised his close friend effusively for this.

    Aluf Ben Ahed, a senior commentator in Haaretz newspaper, published a report on Dagan on 26 September in which he wrote that former prime minister Ariel Sharon himself insisted that Dagan be appointed head of Mossad, “due to his immense experience and his HOBBY of cutting off Arabs’ heads.”

    Sharon greatly enjoyed watching Dagan personally sever the heads of Palestinian resistance fighters after killing them.

  2. #2 by Lasha Darkmoon on 11/07/2008 - 9:34

    A witness from Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp:

    “In July of 1971, Abu Samheh was on her way home to the western quarter of the camp after a visit to a friend in the eastern quarter when she noticed that the camp’s main street was completely empty. When she drew near to the camp’s main mosque, she witnessed a scene she would never forget. Soldiers opened fire on three young Palestinian men, and then a soldier placed one of the dead men in a garbage pit near the mosque. Abu Samheh was overwhelmed by the scene and forgetting her fear rushed towards the soldiers to prevent them from placing the other two men in the pit. They beat her with their rifle butts until blood streamed down her face.

    Salem Sarirat, 58, lives near the Gaza Strip-Israel border. He says that he was herding sheep in the pasture by his house when he heard military vehicles nearby. He rushed home and watched what happened from his window, seeing Rimonim soldiers take two young Palestinian men out of one of the vehicles and tie them to a tree. Then a soldier Sarirat claims was Dagan approached them with a knife in his hand. He sank it into one of the youth’s necks as he screamed and then violently jerked it in all directions until his head was cut off. Then he did the same thing to the other boy.

    Ben Aluf and Ben Kasbit agree that Dagan won Israel’s Man of the Year Award for boldness in his achievements. Gideon says that no one else has headed Mossad who committed atrocities, crimes, and bloodletting like Dagan.”

    If men like Meir Dagan are to receive such honors, why not lavish honors on the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, Genghiz Khan, Nero and Caligula?

  3. #3 by vinayakah on 01/14/2009 - 9:34

    Thank you for the article! I read the original speech from the “Man of the year” in one of the arab web pages just after it was published. I have no words for what is happening. Also now in Gaza, and everywhere. Demons like Dagan, returned back from the former times in all their “glory” to be exposed, and finally anihilated.

    I am preparing an article in my blog about that situation, and hope all that articles will be read by as many people as possible, to expose all that crimes completely!

    Thanks again

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