Grieving family suing Shin Bet officer for negligence in son’s suicide

Informer had been on phone to handler shortly before hanging himself.

Ambulance (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM JERUSALEM)
The parents of a young man from the Havat Gilad outpost are suing a Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) officer for having known and done nothing about their son’s intention to commit suicide.
According to information released Wednesday by prominent far-right activist and lawyer Itamar Ben-Gvir, the young man, who was an informer for the Shin Bet, had had several long phone conversations with his handler, including a 50-minute conversation shortly before he hanged himself, in which he discussed his mental state with the officer.
He told his handler about his unrequited love and the latter tried to comfort him.
But according to Ben-Gvir, the taped conversation revealed that the man had told his handler that he had had a rope around his neck for the past quarter of an hour, to which the handler responded, “Get rid of that thing, stop with this nonsense.”
Ben-Gvir sent a letter to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan demanding that an investigation be opened into the actions of the Shin Bet officer.
“In the cellphone conversations held on March 28, the deceased told the Shin Bet officer at length that he had arrived at his home but detailed his frustration and hardships, and then repeatedly described the world as a bad place that he had no desire to live in anymore and that he wanted to die,” the letter said. Ben-Gvir said that while the recording shows that the officer tried to comfort the young man, he did not call the police, the security services or the rescue services.
When the informer told his handler that he had sent a message to his girlfriend in which he wrote to her for the last time that he loved her and that she shouldn’t forget that, Ben-Gvir said that the officer merely responded, “We’ll talk in the morning.”
“Moreover, during the conversation, the deceased expressed many times his intention to end his life and not to wake up the next morning,” Ben-Gvir said.
“These statements were made explicitly and clearly, but this also left the Shin Bet man indifferent. The writing was on the wall. A few minutes later, the deceased put an end to his life by hanging...
this is criminal negligence on the part of the Shin Bet officer who, instead of involving all the relevant authorities, did not see fit to do anything, and in fact his negligence caused the deceased’s death.”
Ben-Gvir intends to file, on behalf of the family, a NIS 3 million claim for criminal negligence against the officer.
The Shin Bet responded in a statement saying: “The Israel Security Agency does not disclose information about its operatives’ activities and cannot confirm the information published.”
“Of all the information in our possession, it appears that the deceased decided to end his life for unfortunate personal reasons. We share the sorrow of the family and regret that interested parties are using the death of the deceased to attack the agency as part of an attempt to harm the agency and its activities,” the statement added.
“The Shin Bet will continue to act to fulfill its mission for the security of the state.”