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At ex-Mossad chief’s funeral, Gallant lambastes ‘irresponsible political entities’

At the funeral on Friday of former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant lambasted those who take the “name in vain” of security officials.

“Here, at the grave of Shabtai Shavit, in these turbulent days when the name of the Mossad — as well as that of the IDF and the Shin Bet — are used in vain by irresponsible political entities, it’s crucial that we all remind ourselves that the Mossad, the Shin Bet, and the IDF – the soldiers and their commanders – are the protective tools that grant life to the State of Israel and its citizens,” Gallant said at the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in Ramat Hasharon.

“We must appreciate and honor the operatives of the Mossad and its leaders who risk their lives day after day and bear the responsibility of making decisions on vital operations and the lives of the operatives themselves,” the defense minister added.

“Even in challenging times, it’s our duty to remember that we are all brothers and that our unity is a condition for our survival,” Gallant continued. “Without partnership and unity among us, without respecting the opinions and perspectives of others, the broad common denominator that allows a small nation, clinging to its homeland in the heart of a hostile environment, to defend itself powerfully and effectively against those who seek its harm, will crumble.”

Shavit died on Tuesday at the age of 84 while on vacation in Italy.

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In recent weeks, some extremist members of the current coalition have attacked Mossad, Shin Bet and IDF officials, accusing them of collaborating with anti-overhaul protesters or even working with Arab terrorists while cracking down on Jewish terrorism.

Ex-Mossad director Shabtai Shavit speaks at a press conference in Tel Aviv on March 11, 2015. (Ben Kelmer/Flash90)

Current Mossad chief David Barnea also attended Shavit’s funeral, as did former prime minister Ehud Barak and former Mossad heads Yossi Cohen and Tamir Pardo.

In his own remarks at the ceremony, Barnea praised Shavit’s service to the country, and said that the Mossad would continue to “preserve the depth, the dedication and bravery you exhibited, and the sense of mission you left with all of us.”

On Thursday, Barnea warned that Israel needs unity for its survival, in what seemed to be a rare commentary from the spymaster on Israel’s political turmoil.

Speaking at an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, Barnea said Israelis “should not underestimate the importance of unity in order to survive. Our strength is our internal unity.”

In light of the effect it was having on the IDF’s preparedness, Gallant called in March to pause the government’s judicial overhaul, leading to his brief and later-reversed dismissal as defense minister and subsequent freeze of legislation in favor of negotiations at the president’s residence in Jerusalem. Once negotiations failed, however, Gallant voted in favor of the first overhaul bill, the “reasonableness” law.

In July, it was reported that Barnea said he would be “on the right side” in the case of a constitutional crisis that would occur if the High Court of Justice strikes down a piece of the government’s overhaul legislation and the government refuses to abide by the ruling.