This is the watchword in Israel today, no matter the price. Late last night (Monday), I was driving home from work and listening to the talk show hosted by Jojo Abutbul, who is sort of an old-time folk hero in this country – a Mizrahi Jew with down-to-earth wisdom. An Israeli common man. He speaks mainly to an older, Likud-oriented Mizrahi crowd, which is still very reflective of Israeli mainstream views, and is disproportionately represented in Sderot and some of the other towns near the Gaza border that have taken the brunt of Hamas’ rockets. Jojo Abutbul and his callers…Read More... | 41 Comments
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
When the Czechs prefer to keep silent and repress their history, it's a problem, but it is not an imminent danger to the country. When Israelis prefer to pretend there was no ethnic cleaning here, it's a wholly different question: the conflict won't end unless Israel admits to the injustice it caused. A few weeks back I watched The Gatekeepers, a movie which interviews six of the chiefs of Shin Bet, from Avraham Shalom to Yuval Diskin. The movie is shocking and well worth your time. The most surprising character was Diskin, who obviously underwent a great change upon leaving…Read More... | 43 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
Will Diskin crack Netanyahu's "good for security" armor? A review of public surveys on the Iran issue shows that even prior to the damning critique on Friday by Yuval Diskin, former head of the Internal Security Agency, the public already diverged sharply from the leadership's policy: Survey after survey, as I wrote in March, showed that only a minority – somewhere between 19 percent and 31 percent – favors a unilateral Israeli attack on Iran. The majority – at least half (here's a similar survey in Hebrew), and up to nearly two-thirds (Hebrew) – is against a unilateral attack. There are a few…Read More... | 16 Comments
Anat Kamm was convicted of divulging secret information – but the GSS smeared her as a dangerous spy Yesterday, a plea bargain was signed in the Anat Kamm case, and she pled guilty (Hebrew) to felonies she obviously committed: unauthorized possession of secret information and unauthorized delivery of it to unauthorized personnel. In return, the prosecution will not claim she did so “with the intention of harming state security”, which could have sent her to a life sentence. Today, the court eased her house arrest (Hebrew), allowing her to leave her house – probably because it finally realized she is…Read More... | 11 Comments
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Assault on Gaza
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.@UNICEF: New school year delayed indefinitely in #Gaza with 231 schools damaged & 380k Palestinians displaced
First Israeli child fatality of the Gaza war: 4-year-old boy killed in mortar attack on kibbutz bordering Gaza (via @haaretzcom)
PHOTOS: Protests held in Israel, Gaza, West Bank as ceasefire starts & ends http://t.co/KZMZ9nfjYe by @activestills http://t.co/jY1d0s4QHy
Photos of the week: Ceasefire begins and ends http://t.co/KZMZ9nfjYe by @activestills
'Despite all my years of coexistence camps with Jewish Israelis, I’m starting to lose sight of peace.' http://t.co/MGHPdvXIJA
Israel's other war: Silencing Palestinian-Israelis http://t.co/MGHPdvXIJA
'You’re not human, you’re a dog.' Palestinian teen says he was beaten, used as human shield by Israeli troops in Gaza http://t.co/A8vSjNavKl