Difficult Decisions – Shadow Strike

October 28, 2019

Book Reviews

Shadow Strike: Inside Israel’s Secret Mission to Eliminate Syrian Nuclear Power

Yaakov Katz

May 2019
St. Martin’s, 320 pages
ISBN: 978-1-250-19127-4

Shadow Strike, by Yaakov Katz

Shadow Strike, by Yaakov Katz

Shadow Strike is a must read for followers of Israel’s military history, as well as for those that follow serious world events that may affect all of us in the coming years.

At the heart of this serious story by Yaakov Katz, the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, is an account of the powerful decision making and rock hard action of Israel when its security is at stake.

As a former Captain of one of our US Navy’s nuclear powered aircraft carriers and as an Admiral in charge of a Carrier Strike Group, I understand the unflinching responsibility and accountability to protect our ships and soldiers. This means our forces are ever vigilante for the indications of an attack and must be ruthless in our readiness and nothing short of success in defense is acceptable. Like in the Israeli Defense Force, sometimes these situations are obvious to discern, as in an incoming missile, an attack boat headed toward your ship, or tanks crossing your border as played out in Israel’s history such as in the Six Day War or the Yom Kippur War.

In Shadow Strike, Katz describes the most difficult of decision making, when in 2007 Mossad intelligence discovers a not yet completed nuclear weapons facility in Syria. The decision must weigh the dangers of a hostile Syria in command of a nuclear weapon with the political, social, and humanitarian consequences of ultimately leading Israel into another devastating and unpopular war, similar to the 2006 Lebanon War.

What the reader will find fascinating is the weaving of Israel’s history into the story. It discusses the 1981 bombing of the Osiris Nuclear Facility in Iraq. It discusses the ever relevant political alliance with the United States, and how the personal relationship between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and then U.S. President George W. Bush helped the final outcome. It discusses in detail about the continuous confrontation between Syria and Israel, and how in 2007 that played into Olmert’s decision making and Assad’s eventual response. And finally, it discusses how that decision has made such an impact to the safety and security of Israel today.

Ultimately, it will give the reader the background and understanding of Israel’s recent actions in Syria that are at the heart of the defense of Israel and insider understanding of the decisions that need to be made in the coming years about Iran and North Korea’s nuclear program.

Herman A. Shelanski, Vice Admiral, USN Retired.

Letter to the Editor