Oct 27: Chaos in Israel’s security establishment

The Headlines: Bad Fences

> A senior government official is accusing [Heb] the Defense Ministry of refusing to comply with a government decision to build a fence between Israel and Egypt. The official further alleged that the Ministry channeled funds allocated for this purpose, to pay salaries, and refused to allow any other government authority to review the fence’s routes. The fence is meant to stop the entrance to Israel of asylum seekers, fleeing massacres and persecutions in Darfur, Eritrea and Cote d’Ivoire. Their entry is often depicted as a “flood” (Ma’ariv), despite the fact that the numbers are negligible in comparison to Israel’s population.

> The state comptroller has officially launched an investigation into the scandal surrounding the appointment of the incoming Chief of Staff, Yoav Galant. The affair involves forged documents, alleged smear campaigns, and plenty of intrigue between senior officers and elected officials. Both the current Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, and Defense Minister Barak (Labor) will be questioned.

> Water supply for the Negev Bedouin is still far from secure.

> A third of public sector employees receive less than a minimum wage.

The Sidelines: Was David Ben-Gurion a Post-Zionist?

> An op-ed reminds us that Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founder, has often stated that he was not a Zionist. The op-ed then asks: would he have been labeled as a post-Zionist today, and banned from teaching in a university? (Yedioth)

> Settlers are planning massive new construction following the end of the ‘freeze’ last month (Yedioth).

> The Palestinian Authority is renovating schools in Palestinian East Jerusalem, long neglected by Israeli authorities who claim sovereignty over it.

> Palestinian Authority officials, in an unprecedented move, have started [Heb] giving lectures to IDF soldiers.

> The Knesset is debating a bill that would allow the IDF to prosecute ex-soldiers who posted embarrassing materials online. The law targets cases like those that have surfaced recently, where soldiers published photos and videos of themselves, demeaning Palestinian detainees (Yedioth).

> The State Comptroller will examine [Heb] the recent tide of violence in the mixed city of Lod.

> The government hopes [Heb] to bring an end to a long controversy, about the right to immigrate to Israel of Ethiopian Jews, who have been forced to convert to Christianity a century ago.

> A popular ultra-orthodox lecturer endorses the mild beating of children (Ma’ariv).

The Bottom Lines: Segregated Communities Protected, Arab Citizenship Threatened

> The Knesset is debating a bill that would legalize “acceptance committees” meant to enshrine in law the existence of segregated communities, which accept only Jews.

> The Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service) supports a bill that would take away Israeli citizenship from those convicted of spying or terrorism. The definition of a terrorist organization, and spying, is very broad under Israeli law, and has often been used to persecute prominent Israeli Arabs, who maintain connections with fellow Arabs abroad.