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Israel Celebrates the Death of Hugo Chavez
But our citizenship is in heaven—Philippians 3:20-21
“Go to Venezuela!”
We all have the right to be naive; after all, who would guess that elected governments can be evil? Shortly after I arrived at La Paz, Bolivia, I contacted by phone somebody I knew to be close to Mossad (see Portrait of a Jewish Terrorist: Jonatan Caspi). I wanted to find out why I was being persecuted. Could we solve the situation? After all, I had committed no crimes. It must have been a misunderstanding. As said, I was naive; evil regimes would not recognize themselves as such. Following several useless phone talks, I was ordered “Go to Venezuela!”
I was an army officer; I can recognize the tone and inflection of an order. It had been said in a “obey immediately, don’t question it” attitude. I may have been naive, but I wasn’t a fool. If Israel wanted me in Venezuela, that was a place to avoid. Yet, I couldn’t understand. Venezuela, led by Hugo Chavez, was formally unfriendly towards Israel.
IDF Memorial Day
It doesn’t matter how long one spends studying the State of Israel; it is impossible to understand the beast without spending at least one IDF Memorial Day locked in at home listening to the radio. The infinite sadness of the songs is archetypal of the culture. Most Israelis consider it the most sacred day of the year; during it, the Israeli inner side is exposed. Israel sends messages not through noisy headlines, those eternal decoys, but through sad songs reproduced in the inner pages. Don’t listen to Netanyahu’s formal speech, but look what his aide told another irrelevant person and was reproduced in an inconspicuous page of the newspaper. That is the real message, an odd variant on Hebrew peculiarities (Saying “Peace;” Meaning “War”).
Arik wouldn’t tell me why I should go to Venezuela; the answer was in an inner page.
Trapped in Bolivia, Venezuelan news network teleSUR is my main access point to news. Over time, I have learned to trust it. While reporting an issue for the first time, they may have inaccuracies, but they fix that rapidly. Middle Eastern reality escapes them but, invariably, they can be trusted more than CNN. At 4:25PM of March 5, 2013, they reported that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had lost his last battle, and died of cancer in Caracas, the capital, surrounded by his loving family.
The event hadn’t been a surprise. The day before Vice President Maduro had said that the condition of Chavez had deteriorated. There was no time to lose, I needed to see the reactions elsewhere. In recent years, Spain had led a vicious media campaign against Venezuela. The most recent scandal involved the publication of a fake picture claiming to show Chavez in a Cuban hospital (he was there, yet the obnoxious picture was fake). Later on, the newspaper involved admitted the lie. Spain didn’t report the death. Five hours afterwards, they were still repeating the Vice President announcement of the day before.
Amused, I moved to the Spanish version of CNN (the English one is not available here). An American civil servant dressed in white was tediously trying to convince that the USA had not killed Chavez. He gave inaccurate details, claiming that cancer cannot be induced. A panicked America was trying to answer Chavez claims to have been poisoned (November 2012); the claims had been strengthened the day before his death by Vice President Maduro, who said that Chavez had been attacked. I had a friend that used to say “a government’s responsibility is not proved until formally denied by it.” The USA denied, and many listeners reached a different conclusion.
Israel on Henrique Capriles Radonski, see text for details
Related to this: Israeli Reprimand to Argentinean Ambassador: “Give Information!”
Did you know? “Beitar Pure Forever!”
Reviewing in a short article the complex relations of Israel with South American countries is impossible. Mossad has two large stations in the subcontinent; one of them monitors the area’s largest growing Muslim community in Southern Ecuador. Probably its greatest success was when an Israeli woman, Eliane Karp, became the wife of the Peruvian President Toledo; she was presented as a Belgian, her secondary citizenship. Israel is especially strong on the other coast; Argentina roughly rates as an informal Israeli colony (see Israeli Reprimand to Argentinean Ambassador: “Give Information!”). Moreover, Israel clearly has no obstacles in attacking me in Bolivia. While asking to be recognized as a refugee, I was warned at the local Ministry of Justice of the known location of the Mossad substation in La Paz. In 2009, I was brutally attacked next to it during daytime, by a Bolivian-Israeli team. Summarizing, Israel is politically and criminally active in the area. Yet, this didn’t explain why I had been sent to the bastion led by Hugo Chavez, a person informally defined as “enemy” by Israel.
I have seen pretty odd obituaries published by Israeli media; from time to time, I mock them. Knowing that Israel would insult Chavez, who is considered an enemy since Venezuela cut diplomatic relations with Israel after its brutal attack on Lebanon in 2006, I opened with interest the Hebrew media of the day after. Would they use creative insults, or just regular ones?
I started this article by claiming that I had been naive towards Israel. One of the articles about Chavez published by Haaretz, the unofficial Voice of the Shin Beth Secret Police, proved that I am still naive. It was so shocking that I took a snapshot (reproduced above). Instead of an obituary, it was a campaign in favor of Henrique Capriles Radonski, leader of the Venezuelan Opposition, who lost the 2012 elections to Chavez. After the death of Chavez, the Venezuelan Constitution mandates new elections within 30 days; the main candidates would be Nicolas Maduro and Mr. Capriles. Governor of the State of Miranda, located next to Caracas, Mr. Capriles has a long history of questionable statements and deeds, to the extent that he was openly accused by the Venezuelan Government of being an American agent. I won’t repeat the Venezuelan arguments for a simple reason; Mr. Underground CIA Agent will send me an angry email claiming that the “dictatorial accusations of Venezuela cannot be trusted, Capriles is Snow White, and an undeniable hero.” Let’s skip the Venezuelan and American versions, and see what passes in Israel as an obituary to Hugo Chavez.
“Capriles Radonski, 41, attorney in education, conducted an admirable campaign in the last elections. The man is energetic, charismatic, a Catholic believer, and is the grandson of Jews who survived the Holocaust,…and mixes up among people fearless of the assassination attempts he had been warned of…” Of course he is fearless, Mossad watches his back. It took a while, but finally I found out why they tried to trick me into Venezuela; it is so easy when all the victims are concentrated in one place.
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.