A man looks out of a house badly damaged by a firebomb attack by suspected Jewish extremists in the Palestinian village of Duma in the West Bank, July 31, 2015.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jewish terrorists in Israel pose a greater threat to the security of world Jewry than their Arab counterparts, including Islamic State, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Carmi Gillon contended during a Sunday lecture on Jewish extremism at the Jerusalem Press Club.
Noting the recent domestic uptick in Jewish attacks, including the Sunday defacement of a Jerusalem church, Gillon, who led the Shin Bet’s Jewish counter-terrorism unit between 1982 to 1986, said Jewish extremists create a heightened danger overseas.
“I’m worried about the Jewish people all over the world,” he said. “I think about the Greek Orthodox or the Catholics in countries where there are huge minorities of Jews, and they are, in my eyes, under threat thanks to those crazy saboteurs in Israel.”
What makes Jewish terrorists so disproportionately dangerous, Gillon asserted, is that they are “ideological criminals” rather than “regular criminals,” akin to Islamic State, Hamas and Hezbollah.
“When we speak about Jewish [terrorists], they have a vision that is far beyond the violence or the terrorism that they use,” he said, citing the assassinated Jewish extremist Meir Kahane, whose political party was outlawed in Israel, as a case in point.
“This idea that Israel should follow Torah law, and only the Torah law, exists in this country, but I would like to tell you that we are not alone in that,” he said. “Especially nowadays, we have ISIS against the Western world. Now it’s also a religious war and they try to enforce Islam on the rest of the world.”
And while Gillon said Islamic State does not currently present a major threat to Israel, he emphasized that like their Islamic counterparts, Jewish terrorists must be dealt with harshly because they “refuse to compromise,” thus endangering the nation’s security and democracy.
“Here in Israel we use…all the needed methods available to fight terrorism because we want to survive as a democratic country,” he said.
“There is not any difference in my eyes between ISIS and Jewish terrorists. They come with the same agenda; the only difference is that one group is Jewish and one is Muslim.”
However, he added: “Unfortunately, Israeli society…has a lot of forgiveness for [Jewish] criminals. And I must say that I can’t understand it.”
Indeed, Gillon noted that after he orchestrated the arrests of 27 members of the second Jewish Underground in 1984 when they attempted to blow up Palestinians buses in east Jerusalem, a special law was passed in the Knesset to release many of them, although three are serving life sentences.
“So, if you ask me what is the worst job in this country, it is the head of the Jewish counter-terrorism department,” he said.
“When you deal with Arab terrorists in Israel, you deal with a dog that bites a man,” he continued. “When you deal with Jewish terrorists in Israel, you deal with a man who bites a dog.”
Still, despite estimating that the number of Palestinian terrorist attacks compared to the number of Jewish attacks is “100 to 1,” Gillon said Jewish perpetrators are pursued and interrogated by the Shin Bet with the same intensity as Arabs.
To be sure, he cited the recently resurrected and controversial administrative detention of Jewish terrorists as necessary because “they are suspects in terrorism…they are suspects as members of the underground who want to destroy this country.”