This week we heard of the appalling allegations that members of the Shin Bet tortured three teenagers from the group known as the “Hilltop Youth.” Although there is apparently no evidence against the teenagers, they are being blamed with the fatal situation in Duma, in which 3 members of an Arab family were firebombed. The teenagers were arrested under a concept known as “administrative detention” and attorneys have claimed they have gone 21 days without seeing their clients. The allegations of torture include hanging these young men upside down, sleep deprivation and severe beatings.
Now again, we don’t know if all of these allegations are true, but if you think nothing at all happened, then I have a bridge to sell you with a Brooklyn address. I can’t believe what about I am about say, but I’ll say it. “I was actually ashamed to be an Israeli this week.”
For years I have worked in the field of Israel Advocacy, all the way back in college when I was Vice-President of my campus’s Israel group. Many times over many years anti-Israel activists would say “Israel does horrible things, how can you defend it? “
In the past I put up a defense, but I am not going to do it for this situation and no one should. I really don’t want to hear that the Shin Bet has a tough job, which they do, or we need to be aggressive in stopping terrorism, which we do also. I also don’t want to hear about the victims of Duma, as sad as that is as well. It’s simple: if the teenagers are guilty, then let them stand trial and decide from there the punishment, if they are found guilty. If we are going to allow a government to arrest people without evidence and torture them because they think they know better, than it’s time for me to give up the Israeli flag in my apartment.
As heavy as all of this is, I am very pleased to see all the prayers, protests and the fact people are not going to take this lying down. I would hope we can trust the government to do the right thing; to properly investigate this situation and see if the accusations are true. The problem is the Prime Minister in 2015 is the same guy as the Prime Minister in 2008. Bibi “really went out on a limb” this week by completely siding with the Shin Bet 100 percent.
“Director Yoram Cohen and his personnel are doing important and excellent work for the people of Israel and for the security of Israel.” He then smiled and went to one of his houses and relaxed by eating his 10,000 nis ice cream.
Sadly, Naftali Bennett didn’t do much better. Bennett actually figured out a way to speak through both sides of his mouth in a few sentences on Army Radio. “The Shin Bet protects us every day from the Palestinians.” “We have to employ the firmest hand possible in order to prevent the next Duma.” It’s interesting how Bennett’s racism in sentence 1 seems to somewhat reverse itself in sentence 2. Bennett’s comments would be as if I said the following: “You know we have to protect ourselves from those Irish thugs across the street.” “Remember last week when they got beat up in that bar fight? I’d hate to see that again.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked made some interesting comments. Now try to read between the lines on this one.
“It is important for the public to know that three suspects who were arrested have already seen a lawyer and that their medical state is in perfect condition.“ Shaked then said, “I have been informed that they are checked routinely by doctors.”
But if there is no torture, then why would they need to be routinely checked by doctors? Also, who “informed” you of this? The Shin Bet? You mean the Shin Bet didn’t admit to this? Wow, what a shocker! Perhaps Mrs. Shaked needs to learn that one of the aspects of Shin Bet torture is to hit the body in a way not to leave scars, which may not be noticed by all of these “routine doctor visits.”
I know this may come as a shocker to some of you, but sometimes the Israeli government can be incompetent.
I find it intriguing that all of this came as we are about to finish reading Bereshit in the Torah. The last few parshas of the Torah deal with an interesting story. Ten strong men who thought they were doing the right thing put an innocent teenager through torture. The teenager survived, and before he turned 40 years old was one of the most powerful men in the world. This man ended up having the power to decide the fate of the very men who caused his torture.
Always remember, both salvation and destruction can happen in a moment. At the end of the day, I hope the allegations are not true, more for the alleged torturers than those who were allegedly tortured.
Ari Louis is the CEO of IsraelSportsandNewsRadio. To find out more about him, please visit Israelsportsandnewsradio.com.