Recent actions taken by the heads of the army, Mossad and the internal security service (Shin Bet) reveal the Israeli security establishment's unsupervised power, and the way it directs that power at the country’s own citizens and elected officials. These are the main details which have been made public in the affair of Ben Zygier, also known as 'Prisoner X': Zygier was probably recruited by the Mossad in the years following his immigration to Israel; the Australian secret service grew suspicious of Zygier after he changed his name and took out new passports four different times; according to the latest…Read More... | 14 Comments
A well known method which Israeli reporters use to bypass the military censorship is to take the story to the foreign press, (at the price of losing exclusivity, but sometimes journalists just want to get the stuff out). In the New Yorker profile of former Mossad head Meir Dagan, this paragraph appears: Far from everything is known about Dagan's career. Two reporters for Yediot Ahronot, Yigal Sarna and Anat Tal-Shir, once investigated a story that, before Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which was aimed at rooting out Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Dagan led a secret unit across the border whose…Read More... | 7 Comments
Election season has begun, and the Israeli public desperately wants one thing: escapism. Last night, after the Israeli election was set for September 4, I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt that I thought summed up the public mood, which the main "opposition" candidates have been and will be catering to. The T-shirt showed a comically wide-eyed, frightened John Cleese and his classic line from Fawlty Towers: "Don't mention the war!" Perfect. The prime minister has the whole world scared to death that he's going to bomb Iran, every poll shows that a great majority of Israelis don't want him to do it - but it's not an issue in Israeli politics and it almost certainly won't…Read More... | 8 Comments
Ex-Shin Bet chief launches the latest attack on Netanyahu and Barak's character, warning that they can't be trusted to deal with Iran. What is it about these two? This is just about unprecedented in Israeli history, these public attacks on the reliability of the prime minister and defense minister by the security chiefs who served under them. On Friday, Yuval Diskin, who headed the Shin Bet from 2005 until last May, joined the club by describing Netanyahu and Barak as two super-rich "messianics" who are not to be trusted with such a fateful challenge as that of Iran. Last year, Diskin and ex-IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi were named by ex-Mossad director Meir Dagan as having been…Read More... | 17 Comments
Now Interior Minister Eli Yishai has declared Grass to be persona non grata while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has accused the German author of being "willing to sacrifice the Jewish people on the altar of crazy anti-Semites for a second time, just to sell a few more books or gain recognition.” Yishai and Lieberman are the two most outspoken racists in the Israeli government, so if one of the ways to know a person is by his enemies, I'd say Grass is looking pretty good. And in a way, he's getting off easy; when ex-Mossad boss Meir Dagan started criticizing Netanyahu and Barak's plan to bomb Iran, his diplomatic passport was revoked and some cabinet…Read More... | 67 Comments
Imagine: Israel is cranked up to bomb a country that likely has chemical and biological weapons to go with its missiles. Imagine: It is planning a future of one such 'pre-emptive' war after another. I've been preoccupied for several years with the prospect that Israel would bomb Iran, and what started it was something that people don't talk about much, certainly not now that an attack seems to be imminent: the possibility that Iran will hit back with chemical or biological weapons. Experts on WMD say it's a good bet Iran has both these weapons. (Syria is known to have chemical weapons, and we all know what Israel's got.) Missiles carrying chemical warheads can kill…Read More... | 43 Comments
The public doesn't know it, but ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan and his opposition to war with Iran have company Retired army general Nathan Sharony, head of the Council for Peace and Security, which includes over 1,000 former high-ranking security officials with dovish views, says the positions of ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan and ex-army intelligence head Shlomo Gazit against an attack on Iran are "acceptable" to him. Retired army colonel Yiftah Shapir, the leading expert on missile warfare at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS), Israel's premier security think tank, says he "does not think the price we will have to pay [for an attack on Iran] is worth the benefit." He argues that the most Israel can do is delay Iran's…Read More... | 30 Comments
Foreign Policy’s piece about Israel’s false flag activities reminds us that Israel has been supporting terrorists for a long, long time Mark Perry’s piece in Foreign Policy detailing how Mossad agents recruited terrorists in Pakistan – members of the Jundallah organization – to carry out attacks in Iran is getting plenty of attention. Of course, that’s not how the story is framed: Oriented to the American public, its focus is on the fact that Israeli agents did as best they could to frame the US in their acts. But if you have a broader outlook than that of the Beltway…Read More... | 10 Comments
One would be hard-pressed to name a dull year in the history of the Middle East, and 2011 was no exception. It shares its beginnings with a domino effect of popular protest, sparked in Tunisia, which would ultimately see the fall of regimes whose iron fists had been decades-old fixtures. Even Israelis suddenly seemed to share grievances with their neighbors, with hundreds of thousands joining the largest protest movement in the country’s history. But the hopes voiced in the streets of the world have been matched by crackdowns – notably in Syria, to this day – and diplomatic deterioration. Europe…Read More... | 2 Comments
In recent weeks discussion has grown about the possibility of an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. Israeli media, politicians, and American officials have all spoken publicly about the advisability and ramifications of such a strike. Does this signal a real possibility for such an attack, or simply political posturing? Watch +972 Magazine's Larry Derfner debate Elliot Jager, Contributing Editor at Jewish Ideas Daily, on Bloggingheads.tv.Read More... | 3 Comments
The lack of national consensus makes an Israeli attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities unlikely, yet the escalating threats could create a dangerous dynamic in the longer run ● Public discourse is lacking a serious debate on the consequences of the attack After months and years in which it has been kept in back rooms or limited to hints and remarks the true meaning of which was understood only by a few people, the Iran debate is suddenly so public that at times it's hard to make any sense of it. Never has the possibility of a war – a…Read More... | 5 Comments
Former head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, has called this week for the Israeli leadership to accept the Arab peace initiative. He has also ruled out an attack on Iran. According to almost every news source in Israel—from centrist Yedioth to Haaretz—Former head of Mossad coordinated his messages with former Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazy and former head of Shabak, Yuval Diskin. All three are concerned from Netanyahu's poor judgment. It is important to note that Dagan is (or was?) a member of the Israeli right – his first dip in politics was as a leader of a public movement objecting…Read More... | 6 Comments
The attacks on Meir Dagan for his latest comments are what undermine Israeli democracy, not the comments themselves. Meir Dagan, whose specialty according to Ariel Sharon (the man who appointed him as chief of Mossad) was separating of Arabs’ heads from their bodies, made a series of controversial statements lately. Ignoring for the moment the Ofer Brothers' trade with Iran mess – the only reason one cannot call the late, unlamented Sammy Ofer a traitor is that he was a citizen of Monaco, not Israel – Dagan focused on two issues. One was the severe danger facing Israel should it…Read More... | 6 Comments
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Last Metro to Taksim
Yuval Ben-Ami reports from Istanbul.
Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
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Is a binational identity possible in Israel? http://t.co/yFmq5vBPGV
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The soldiers' stories that Israel lacks the courage to hear http://t.co/rlleFPDVVq By Larry Derfner, cc @ShovrimShtika