(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As the government met across the street to approve the appointment of Yoram
Cohen to lead the Shin Bet, the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee
met Sunday to salute outgoing Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin.
will conclude his six-year-long term in office in mid- May, issued a subtle
warning against politicization of the secretive organization, while
complimenting those who served under him for treading a difficult
“The Shin Bet does not operate just in the Palestinian field, but
also deep in the fabric of Israeli society, where it tries to identify threats
and respond to them to maintain national security,” he said.
“We and the
police are two organizations that walk the fine line between maintaining
national security and civil rights,” he added. “It is not easy, and it is
important that the political leadership knows to maintain the organization as
Amid compliments regarding his tenure, Diskin summed up his
six years at the head of the organization, saying “most of the time, I just
tried not to interfere.”
Diskin described six years in which terror
attacks against Israelis declined significantly.
That decline, said
Diskin, was “the glass half-full.”
“The half-empty glass is the fact that
just over 160 people were killed and 2,300 were wounded in those years,” he
“I am proud that the organization succeeded in reducing suicide
bombings, which at the beginning of the decade barely allowed us to maintain
Although Diskin took a largely diplomatic stance during the
celebratory meeting, committee chairman Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) drew political
lessons from the recent escalation of rocket fire in the South.
has strengthened significantly relative to its condition before Operation Cast
Lead and certainly relative to afterward,” he said, complaining that Israel’s
deterrence had been eroded in the ensuing two years.
“One of Diskin’s
greatest achievements was to cause the disappearance in minutes of the biggest
murderers that ever rose against us in Gaza and Judea and Samaria,” Mofaz
“In times like these, in the situation that we find ourselves
with one million citizens under the threat of rocket fire, the political
leadership should adopt the deterrent tool that you were central in
“I recommend that the government take a step up and create
deterrence, which can be achieved if decision-makers in Hamas and Islamic Jihad
understand that Israel will not reconcile itself to a situation in which every
week or two there is a planned escalation,” he added.