It was a scene unimaginable 10 years ago: the head of the Jewish Division of the
Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) caught on camera – his name and position
spelled out at the top of the screen, and seen getting into a vehicle – in a
freely available video clip.
It is a criminal offense in Israel to expose
Shin Bet employees.
Clause 19 of the Shin Bet Law forbids it. But if
video footage of Shin Bet agents or officials is hosted on Internet servers
abroad, there is little security forces can do to remove the film.
the latest in a series of examples of how activists can circumvent
legislation using global web communications tools.
The footage, shot by
an unidentified cameraman, was posted on YouTube last week, and was the
shot fired in an ongoing media war being waged by far-Right elements
Security personnel believe that they are being harassed and
systematically delegitimized by far-Right elements as retribution for
policies that confound their Greater Israel ideology.
identity of Shin Bet agents is the latest modus operandi in a
campaign that has included demonstrations outside the homes of officials
the Judea and Samaria Police, state prosecutors, and senior IDF officers
Central Command and the Civil Administration, security forces
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The demonstrations have often gotten personal and have resulted
in the arrest of activists for holding unplanned demonstrations.
week, another blow was struck against Shin Bet anonymity, when audio
of an alleged Shin Bet agent posing as a far-right extremist and urging
Jewish terrorist Haim Pearlman to murder the head of the Islamic
Northern Branch, Raed Salah, were aired on Channel 2 news on Thursday
The man’s voice was distorted on the Channel 2 broadcast, but a
YouTube clip carried the same recording without changing the man’s
violating Israeli law.
No one has taken responsibility for the video of
the Shin Bet Jewish Division head. But in the right-wing community,
worked hard to record the enforcement actions of the security forces in
settlements, there is support for publicizing such videos.
Nadia Matar of
Women in Green, whose group has participated in demonstrations outside
officials’ homes, said when asked about the video of Jewish Division of
Bet that someone was lucky enough to have caught the official on
“He has to know that there is a price to stabbing Jewish brothers
in the back. So I am happy that whoever did this, did it.
“Maybe it will
make other people think twice,” she said.
“People have to be loyal or
bear the consequences.”
Matar added that if she heard her neighbor was
harassing people, she would not say hello to him, nor would she invite
him for a
She recalled that before the 2005 disengagement she had
written a letter to the then-head of the Disengagement Authority,
in which she had accused him of being a far more terrible version of the
Increasingly, settlers and right-wing activists are on hand
with cameras when security forces disperse right-wing protests or enter
settlements and outposts to enforce building regulations.
In many cases,
photographs and videos of these actions have been sent by settlers to
outlets and posted on YouTube. In some instances settlers have been able
record acts of violence by security forces against the protesters.
Monday, the Samaria Citizens’ Committee sent out a press release in
declared the camera its new weapon. Last week it also posted a short
YouTube about how the camera is an essential tool in their battle on
For the last three months, the Samaria Citizens’
Committee has held training sessions to help residents of the
how to use photographs and video to capture any actions against them by
Border Police and Palestinians.
Committee head Benny Katzover said the
Right had something to learn from the Left, which has made effective use
photographs and videos to record IDF abuses against Palestinians.
right picture at the right time” can make the point more effectively
story settlers might tell, Katzover said.
Catching abusive action by the
IDF and Border Police on camera will also increase the chances of
officers accountable for their actions, said Katzover.
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