Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the public to stop reporting and scrutinizing Mossad’s anonymous detention of “Prisoner X” under an alias and other secret actions of the security forces, saying that discussion of such reports harms “state security” and that Mossad should be allowed to get back to its secretive business “quietly.”
Providing no details, Netanyahu insisted that Israel protests the individual rights of everybody suspected of a crime, including apparently those disappeared into solitary confinement until they commit suicide and that he “absolutely trusts” Mossad to do whatever it wants properly.
The detention and treatment of Prisoner X, revealed to be Australian Ben Zygier, has sparked major concerns, including among Knesset members, who fear that the secretive nature of his imprisonment, and the long-term “gag order” on the Israeli press which kept all details of it a secret for years, are part of a worrying trend in Israeli society.
That trend extends well beyond Zygier’s own sordid tale, though exactly how far beyond is a matter of no small speculation, since it isn’t at all clear how much else the Israeli press is being ordered to sit on, and how much they simply haven’t found out yet.
Indeed, Zygier’s detention and death appear to have been linked to a passport scandal and potentially an assassination plot that were themselves well covered. If the Netanyahu government will go to such lengths to keep nominal cover over long-since blown secrets, one can only imagine what else they are liable to be doing that hasn’t reached the public’s ear yet.
Netanyahu shot back that if Israelis want to live in “tranquility” they were better off not questioning him nor his spy agencies, and that as an “exemplary democracy” they should let Mossad get back to the shadows.