But that is fast changing. Mr Arad was prominent in preparing Mr Netanyahu’s tough positions as he headed for
Mr Arad, recently appointed the head of
One military analyst, Amir Oren, has noted that, given Mr Netanyahu’s unstable coalition, Mr Arad “is likely to emerge as a strong adviser to a weak government”.
Mr Arad has been outspoken both in rejecting Palestinian statehood and in promoting the military option against
Mr Arad is also one of only a handful of senior figures on Mr Netanyahu’s Iran Task Force, charged with devising a strategy for dealing with
That will make some in
Arik Carmon, founder of the Israel Democracy Institute, has described Mr Arad’s proposal to arrange “territorial exchanges” to strip some of
Alon Liel, a former director-general of
In 2007, before his rise to public prominence, Mr Arad also fuelled worried speculation about
But despite Mr Arad’s espousal of opinions that in many respects accord with those of Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu Party and Mr Netanyahu’s foreign minister, few doubt the prime minister’s fierce loyalty to him.
In a sign of that commitment, Mr Netanyahu pushed through Mr Arad’s appointment as national security adviser, a post in which he will need to be in almost continual consultation with the
He had been barred from entering the
When the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, arrived in Jerusalem in April for meetings with Mr Netanyahu, then prime minister-designate, her staff quietly suggested he remove an official — a hint that Mr Arad’s presence was not welcome. Mr Netanyahu instead sent out Sallai Meridor, the ambassador to the
The Obama administration has since restored Mr Arad’s visa and agreed to his political rehabilitation, not least so that he will be able regularly to meet his
Mr Arad spent more than 20 years in Mossad, much of it working in the intelligence section, before being appointed as Mr Netanyahu’s foreign policy adviser in his first government in the late 1990s.
He was also closely associated with a leading neoconservative think-tank in
But paradoxically, his influence on Israeli thinking — both among policymakers and the public — may have actually increased during his years in political opposition, after the fall of the first Netanyahu government in 1999.
It was then that he established an influential think-tank, the Institute for Policy and Strategy, at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Centre.
The institute stages an annual conference, dedicated to the “balance of Israel’s national security”, that has become the most important event in the Israeli calendar for politicians, generals and diplomats, as well as attracting high-profile US guests.
Since the first meeting in 2000, the conferences have defined the major security issues supposedly facing
Chief among these have been fears about the demographic threat to
In an indication of his implacable opposition to a Palestinian state, Mr Arad recently told an interviewer: “We want to relieve ourselves of the burden of Palestinian populations, not the territories.”
He has suggested that the Palestinians be required to become economically self-reliant, in the hope that their leaders will be forced to promote family planning methods to reduce the population. His motto is that the Palestinians need “one man, one job” before they need “one man, one vote”.
He has also promoted a complex territorial exchange involving
But his greatest vehemence is reserved for
As Mr Netanyahu’s plane touched down in
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth,
A version of this article originally appeared in The National (www.thenational.ae), published in