'Prisons Service holds drills dealing with all scenarios'

Public Security Minister Aharonovitch attempts to calm controversy over "population exchange exercises" by Prisons Service.

Aharonovitch 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Aharonovitch 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Wednesday responded to controversy surrounding an Israel Prisons Service exercise last week meant to simulate riots in the Arab sector following a population exchange, saying that the simulation was routine and reflected no political standing or impending policies.
“This exercise was to train officers for an fictitious incident dealing with demonstrations, and does not indicate any sort of standing or intended policies,” Aharonovitch said in a letter sent to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday.
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Last Friday, Israel Radio’s military correspondent Carmela Menashe reported that security forces held a large-scale exercise in the North the day before that simulated dealing with terror attacks and Israeli-Arab riots in the wake of a population exchange agreement with the Palestinian Authority.

According to Menashe, the exercise included the erection of a detention camp at the Golani junction to deal with Arab detainees.
In his letter on Wednesday, Aharonovitch said “the prisons service, like the police, holds exercises dealing with every possible scenario, fictitious or real. That being said, we will draw lessons together with the relevant bodies and be more sensitive towards the public discourse.”
The minister added that “the prisons service from time to time holds different types of exercises, in order to learn and also test the operational capabilities of its units on a day-to-day basis and in times of crisis.