Shin Bet slammed for transfer of Arab worker at Olmert's gym

Request represents “another layer in the charged relationship between the security services and the Arab public in Israel.”

April 12, 2010 12:19
1 minute read.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Ehud Olmert 311 AP Good Quality. (photo credit: AP)


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The Association for Civil Rights (ACRI) in Israel on Sunday issued a harsh rebuke followed reports that the Shin Bet had asked the manager of a Tel Aviv gym to reassign an Israeli-Arab employee, because former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert works out in the same facility.

In a press release issued Sunday, ACRI Director Hagai El-Ad said “the contention that someone’s ethnicity can justify their being terminated or reassigned to a different position is shameful and intolerable in a democratic country.”

El-Ad referred to the Shin Bet’s request to reassign the 20-year-old Kafr Kasim resident as illegal and represents “another layer in the charged relationship between the security services and the Arab public in Israel.” El-Ad likened the decision to others made in Israel in recent years that represent “unacceptable discrimination against the Arab citizens of Israel.”

Israeli media outlets reported on Sunday that the employee had worked at the gym for several months previous to the Shin Bet running a series of background checks on the gym’s employees.

The gym is reportedly located in a residential building that contains 24-hour surveillance.

A Shin Bet source contacted by The Jerusalem Post on Sunday refused to state why the employee was considered a potential security threat, but the security service was quoted by media as saying that the request was made because the man has a relative who served time for security offenses against the state.

The source said that the decision was made “according to information we have in our hands”. He refused to disclose what the information was, but said that the man’s ethnicity was not a consideration.

The source also said the decision was not at all related to an incident last year when an Israeli-Arab teen was arrested for spying on IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi at the Kfar Saba gym they both worked out.

Last Tuesday, Tira resident Rawi Sultani, 23, was sentenced to 68 months in prison for spying on Ashkenazi and transferring intelligence to a Hizbullah agent.

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