I’ve recounted here an earlier scandal involving the third-highest ranking Shabak officer, “Claude,” who not only fudged on his departmental budget and overspent by hundreds of thousands of dollars, but slept with a married female subordinate, promoted her, and then demoted her husband. At the time this scandal was reported, Yuval Diskin, the head of said house of ill-repute, claimed he followed proper procedures, investigated fully, etc., etc. The fact of the matter is that the randy culprit was only disciplined when the cuckholded husband filed a formal civil service complaint against the officer. Just last week, the independent investigation expelled him from Shabak service for three years.
My question: why not forever? Does the Israeli civil service believe that someone in such a trusted and sensitive position protecting the security of the State should be allowed to act in such a way and get a slap on the wrist of a three-year suspension from the intelligence services? Well, at least they didn’t allow him to continue serving, which is what Diskin’s original proposal was.
Now we have yet another sex scandal (Hebrew): a senior Shin Bet officer, N. (with the equivalent rank of Brig. Gen.), carried on an affair with a female subordinate. Then he had the audacity to appoint himself to the committee evaluating her for a promotion. The offender himself was up for a major promotion that would’ve brought him the rank of Major General.
Not only can’t these guys keep it in their pants, they haven’t the least sensitivity to ethical issues. This goes to a fundamental machismo within certain male Israeli circles especially involving men in positions of power in the military, politics and business worlds. You have only to look at the cases of Haim Ramon and Moshe Katsav as recent examples. The Israeli poet and peace activist Yitzhak Laor has also been accused of such predatory sexual behavior.
And lest anyone think I’m singling out Israeli males or the Israeli intelligence services for such opprobrium, let’s recall the CIA’a Algeria station chief accused of drugging and raping multiple Algerian women during the course of his “service” in that country. Having power over people intoxicates some male egos and allows them to cross the boundaries of civilized behavior. Apparently this happens more more frequently in Israel, and naturally in its security service as well.
Diskin perhaps learned a lesson from his shameful slap on the wrist that he offered as “punishment” for “Claude,” the first offender. He immediately sought the second predator’s resignation. Though the article does say that the initial complaint in this case was brought to the civil service commission (which is how Claude met his end), so it’s possible that even in this case Diskin wouldn’t act until an independent body forced his hand.
As a result of the resignation, the civil service case complaint against N. has been closed. Hence, he will likely move on to some other employment (much like Katsav who left behind a long list of victims even before he became president), likely at an equivalent senior position, where he will continue similar behavior.
What does it tell you about the managerial skills of Diskin that he taps a sexual predator for promotion to a senior Shabak post? And is it any wonder, given that the Shabak itself in some ways preys on its victims, both Jewish and Palestinian, often without any serious proof of a security offense?
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.