Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Emil Salman
PM on Zygier case: Security interests can't be dismissed
In first official comment on 'Prisoner X' case PM backs defense establishment; says that while Israel reveres freedom of speech, it cannot be allowed to compromise state security
In his first official comment on the "Prisoner X" case, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he has "every confidence" in the defense establishment's decisions in the case.


"Our security forces work tirelessly and diligently to ensure that we can live here safely. I have every faith in them and in our legal system," he said.


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"The intelligence and security communities in Israel, while independent, operate under the full supervision of the law. This combination of abiding by the law and by our security needs helps maintain the freedom of speech.


"However, over-exposing intelligence and security operations can – and sometime does – seriously compromise state security," Netanyahu stressed.  


Video: Eli Mandelbaum


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"Israel's realities mandate that we include our security interests in every discussion – it is vital because we are different than other nations.


"We are a democracy and we protect individual rights as much as any other country," Netanyahu stressed, "But we face greater challenges and we have to enable our defense establishment to perform its duties, so we can live in peace."


The details of Australian national and alleged Mossad operative Ben Zygier's 2010 death were first reported last Wednesday by ABC News Australia.


Israel remained mum at first, but the flurry of foreign media reports that followed eventually led to authorities partially lifting the comprehensive gag order placed on the case nearly three years ago.


The Justice Ministry's official statement on the matter made no mention of Zygier's name, stating only that a man held in a maximum security prison died while in Israel's custody and that the death was ruled a suicide.


Calls for a State commission of inquiry into the Zygier affair have grown louder over the weekend. Several Knesset member have urged the State Control Committee, as well as State Comptroller Joseph Shapira, to launch an immediate investigation into the matter. 


Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr announced Sunday that an independent inquest into Zygier's death will be launched adding that Australia has "Asked the Israeli government for a contribution to that report."



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