31 March 2011

Gideon Levy on Shin Bet and its new chief

In an opinion piece in today’s edition of Ha’aretz, columnist Gideon Levy writes, under the headline Shin Bet heads spearhead the occupation, about the announcement of a new head, Yeram Cohen, for the Israeli security organisation Shin Bet:

It's hard to think of any other democracy where they would break into a prime-time news program to announce the nomination of a security agency head...

It's also hard to think of another audience that would applaud the announcement...

The announcement of the appointment justifies a news flash in Israel because the Shin Bet, unlike its counterparts in the West, is involved in almost every aspect of our lives: from the granting of a security classifications of a large number of people to carrying out assassinations, from the bloated and ridiculous security detail it gives to our leaders to its operations tracking and pursuing left-wing and settlement activists.

It decides who will be allowed to enter the country and who will be allowed to invest here. The Shin Bet state, which philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz prophesied, has already been with us for some time.

Of Shin Bet heads in general, Levy writes that they spearhead the occupation and endanger Israel’s democratic character:

Their world is narrow and afflicted with paranoia and hatred of the targets of their manhunts and assassinations. They also have no idea what damage their deeds do to Israel's international standing and image. It's always possible to recount their successes, but who will count the acts of terror that were actually sown by their actions?

Read Levy’s article in full here.

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