'Many cases unsolved.' Dichter
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Yaakov Teitel

12 years of terror: Could Shin Bet have done more?

Former top security service officials analyze Teitel affair. Ayalon says Shin Bet could have done more, while MK Hasson draws attention to complexity of gathering intelligence within Jewish communities

Alleged Jewish terrorist Yaakov Teitel was arrested by security forces in 2000, but later released due to lack of evidence linking him the murder of a Palestinian shepherd. Former top Shin Bet security service officials stopped short of calling his release a fiasco, but called on the Shin Bet to examine the security establishment's conduct during the affair.


Teitel was arrested in early October by Shin Bet and police forces for allegedly carrying out a string of domestic acts of terror dating back to 1997, including the murder of the Palestinian shepherd and another Arab.


Former Shin Bet chief and cabinet member Ami Ayalon told Ynet, "The fact that Arabs and Jews were harmed obligates the service to check where it could have done more."


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Israel Police and the Shin Bet suspect that Teitel had distributed pamphlets throughout the West Bank with explanations on how to plant explosive devices while evading security forces. Shin Bet's Jewish Division assumes that there are sleeper cells in the West Bank, also due to the fact that police have yet to solve a number of murders of Palestinians. The security establishment fears that the pamphlets may result in additional acts of Jewish terror.


Teitel, investigators estimate, operated alone and did not consult with any rabbinical authority. "Causing someone like this to admit his guilt during his interrogation is an accomplishment in itself," former Shin Bet director and current Knesset Member (Kadima) Avi Dichter said.


According to him, many Jews have been arrested following acts of terror against Palestinians but were released due to lack of evidence.


MK Israel Hasson (Kadima), a former deputy Shin Bet chief, called Teitel's arrest a "miracle."


"The Shin Bet's Jewish Division is faced with great difficulties because it cannot gather intelligence (in Jewish communities) as it does in other areas due to issues related to democracy and policing," he said.


Hasson mentioned the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin as an example of the difficulties in gathering intelligence within the Jewish population. "Seemingly, had there been Shin Bet informants in the universities, they probably would have come across Yigal Amir (Rabin's assassin). But do we want to live in a country where the students' activity is monitored?" he said. 


Efrat Weiss and Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 11.02.09, 01:19
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