Better late than never

The attempt to cover up the Zygier/Alon affair caused Israel more harm than good

February 20, 2013 12:00
Zygier's gravestone

Zygier's gravestone. (photo credit: REUTERS/Brandon Malone)

The Mossad intelligence agency and the judiciary system finally came to their senses last week – albeit some two years, or 36 hours at least, too late – conceding that Prisoner X (the Australian Jew known as Ben Zygier or Ben Alon) had indeed been held in an Israeli jail, and had been afforded all the rights to which he was entitled as a prisoner, including legal representation. His family had been notified, and he had been granted visitation rights; he had also appeared before a judge and had benefited from legal proceedings.

Australian media had identified Zygier as the man who died in an Israeli prison in 2010. Israel broke its official silence February 13 over the reported suicide in jail of an Australian immigrant recruited to the Mossad, giving limited details on a closely guarded case. After appeals by local media chafing at censorship of a story broken by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, a District Court allowed publication of six paragraphs of an approved text. The text said an Israeli with an unspecified dual nationality had been secretly imprisoned “out of security considerations,” only to be found dead in his cell 26 months before, in what was eventually ruled a suicide.


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