New Prisoner X: Mossad Hides Its Dirty Secrets in Ayalon Prison
Hollywood loves sequels, even ones that bomb. Apparently, so do Israel’s intelligence agencies. The original version, the one starring Ben Zygier, did so “well” at the box office that the they also imprisoned another Prisoner X in the same prison. This individual was, like Zygier, a covert agent who also had betrayed state secrets in some unspecified way. He was also held incommunicado and under an assumed name, just as Zygier was. Though he didn’t commit suicide.
Media reports inside Israel cannot confirm whether the prisoner is still held under these conditions or whether he’s been released. We only know about the new case because it was mentioned in the report prepared by an Israeli judge tasked with investigating the Zygier suicide. Haaretz had to file a legal brief in order to receive permission to report this new story.
News reports haven’t confirmed which agency the prisoner worked for, but there are some hints offered that he may’ve also worked for Mossad, as Zygier did.
Avigdor Feldman, who was the last civilian to see Zygier alive and is one of Israel’s leading lawyers, says he knows something about the new case (Hebrew). Feldman adds that these two prisoners (Zygier and Prisoner X) may be the tip of the iceberg. There may indeed be more of them.
The Israeli attorney indicates that the new Prisoner X was a covert operative working with the highest level of security clearance. He was imprisoned as a result of his betrayal of the secrecy of a Mossad operation:
“We’re speaking of a criminal act which was a serious breach of the walls of security and secrecy of the secret apparatus [Mossad’s covert operations]. Not just endangering the security of the State but the heads of those [Israeli security] organizations who would be fired.
Feldman strangely suggest that the sentence offered to this man would be lessened if he agreed to stay quiet and not reveal what he knows for the rest of his life. It sure sounds like he could embarrass an awful lot of people in Israel’s security establishment. One only wonders what’s involved.
Once again, such draconian treatment of Israeli citizens by the security services reveals the national security state running amok. It treads on the rights of citizens unfettered without any sense of the rule of law, due process or individual rights. Of course, the State must protect itself from those who betray secrets. But in other democracies there are ways to do this under the law. In Israel, when it comes to security offenses, there is no law. Just fiat.
On a related subject, Israeli media revealed a hitherto unknown aspect of the Zygier tragedy. His wife Maya had come to visit him on the morning of the day he killed himself. She brought her four-day old baby with her. Zygier became terribly agitated during their almost hour-long conversation. Until now, no one knew (except Zygier’s family and the Israeli security apparatus) why. Now we know that Zygier’s wife told him she was ending her relationship with him.
I am not privy to any of the details. I don’t know why she did this. I don’t know if Zygier had done anything that deserved this response. But it seems to me the ultimate betrayal to cut off your relationship with your spouse, with whom you have two children, when he faces 20 years in prison.
When the prisoner’s mother heard what happened, she immediately called the prison authorities and warned them that she feared he would kill himself with an overdose of medication (he was prescribed anti-depressants). This caused the prison to contact the staff psychiatrist, who spent an hour talking with Zygier. At the conclusion of the conversation, the medical specialist reported there was no danger. How does a psychiatrist treating a patient in solitary confinement, completely cut off from almost all human contact, and whose wife has just told him she will have nothing further to do with him, wave that off?
Zygier’s mother’s warning message was never relayed to those monitoring Zygier in his cell.
What’s further mystifying is that Maya Alon will share a proposed $1.6-million settlement with the State over its negligence in his suicide (Zygier’s parents will also share in the arrangement). Why should she benefit from his death in any way? She essentially caused his death. I suppose it might be reasonable if her children were the beneficiaries rather than her. But that wasn’t mentioned in the media coverage I read.
23 thoughts on “New Prisoner X: Mossad Hides Its Dirty Secrets in Ayalon Prison – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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Maya Alon did not cause Ben Zigyer’s death – this is a rather farfetched description of the situation. This in particular when her husband was in a highly protected prison. In fact she was the chief victim of this mishap and she definitely should be compensated.
Sorry, but if you tell a man his marriage is over, while he’s imprisoned in solitary confinement, where he stands to be for 20 yrs, then you’re responsible for him deciding he has nothing left to live for.
Yesterday I heard one theory םמ Galatz that Zygier did not actually plan to kill himself and that he was sure that the guards who are watching him via cameras will save him, and was not aware on how incompetent they are.
@Nimrod: It was a theory offered by Avigdor Feldman. It wasn’t terribly persuasive to me. Feldman probably feels guilty he was one of the last to see him alive & didn’t detect Zygier’s depression or his liability to kill himself.
Regardless of one’s moral judgement of Prisoner X’s wife and the distribution of his would-be blood-money, I strongly disagree with your assertion that “She essentially caused his death.”
She might’ve triggered his death, but in no way caused it.
Its primary cause is the all-encompassing Israel-adulation that runs unchecked within the Aussie organised Jewish community. This is abated by the local blind-eyed federal government, eager to please the American and Israeli security establishments, hoping to enjoy some friendly hush-hushed throwaways.
Then come the Israeli security establishment, determined to cover its anti-Australian transgressions – and its own pervasive systemic failures – at all costs.
Jewish swagmen beware: if you go awaltzing with these squatters, you’ll end up the jumbuck in their tuckerbox.
‘Regardless of one’s moral judgement of Prisoner X’s wife and the distribution of his would-be blood-money, I strongly disagree with your assertion that “She essentially caused his death.”’
For what my personal opinion is worth, I think it inappropriate to publish such judgements on such deeply personal — and no doubt painful — matters at all. Whether or not one agrees with the assertion itself, it seems, to me, somewhat absurd (because it is essentially unknowable) and not in good taste (because to accuse someone of causing a suicide is extremely offensive) for people who do not know them to speculate upon the question in a public place. Such things are better discussed in private, if one must discuss them at all.
Private individuals with no public office or power should have their privacy respected (although when Mr. Silverstein has publicly accused individuals of extremely heinous crimes, specifically serial rape, on what I understood to be strong evidence, I think he probably made an acceptable exception) — especially until they are convicted of any crime; this woman is not even under any formal suspicion of anything, as far as I understand.
As Mr. Silverstein importantly points out, “I am not privy to any of the details. I don’t know why she did this. I don’t know if Zygier had done anything that deserved this response.” And indeed, for all we know he was a horrible man who physically abused her. She could have had any reason to do what she did. She may have taken great pains to do it as gently and reasonably as well. On the other hand it may also be valid to consider her actions a betrayal, as Mr. Silverstein also writes. But I see little reason to print such opinions for public consumption.
The facts themselves are interesting and worth writing about — her visit before his death, and the state settlement she has been offered. And people can — and will — draw their own conclusions, if they must. But beyond that heads in the direction of tabloidism, and is not the place for strangers to pry and to pass judgement on. The real story here is the conduct of the Israel authorities — which, being by far the most powerful entity in the equation, should be the first looked at if one wants to consider the moral or psychological question of blame — not the private emotional exchanges between a wife and her husband in an extremely difficult situation.
Those are my two cents but of course, it’s Mr. Silverstein’s blog and I believe he exercises his best editorial judgment already.
For the record: I did NOT express any moral judgement whatsoever on Mrs Prisoner X’s actions and specified that my comment was NOT in regard to such judgement.
@ yankel: Yes, I know, and I was agreeing with you. My critique was directed at those elements in the article.
@Daniel: I do appreciate your “two cents” (which are surely worth more than that!). Your point is well-taken. I was just so troubled by what she did that I decided to write what I did. I feel very keenly the isolation, depression & loneliness to which he was subjected. All those who contributed to it are blameworthy.
@Yankel: Yes, I can see your point. Of course, Maya ALon is not solely responsible for her husband’s death. The State and its organs which placed him in his predicament are surely more responsible. But her actions are inexplicable & troubling to me.
“I feel very keenly the isolation, depression & loneliness to which he was subjected” – I wholly subscribe to this (while keeping in mind that – betraying his native homeland – he had volunteered to serve those very same state-organs).
I hope if I ever find myself in such predicament (self-inflicted or otherwise), my partner would choose to stick by me comes what may. I truly hope, just as well, I’d be strong – and persuasive – enough to convince her to let go.
What? Israel’s gag order suspended for some gossip, link please and evaluation how trustworthy.
“On a related subject, Israeli media revealed a hitherto unknown aspect of the Zygier tragedy …
Now we know that Zygier’s wife told him she was ending her relationship with him.”
In earlier articles, it was written Ben Alon aka Zygier was in complete isolation, no visits from family/relatives only a very limited visit from a lawyer. Even the outside world wondered about December 21, 2010 minus 9 months. It could not have been his son/daughter.
“She brought her four-day old baby with her.”
Improbable, and if true inhumane cruel. This is the baby, you won’t see me or the baby again. Almost prophetic, isn’t it?
Zygier WAS in complete isolation. He had no contact with other prisoners or with prison guards (except one). He did have visits with a limited number of family and his lawyers. But that was all.
I did think that the most likely explanation for all the conflicting versions as to who “Prisoner X” actually was, was simply that there were several of them. There were about six different stories on who it was, so there probably are about six in secret custody.
The most pertinent information to discover would be: what’s the longest period of time that anyone has been held in Israel under such conditions, and if anyone is being held who is not an Israeli national.
Would they now hold a female prisoner in the same facility?
If a hypothetical female prisoner (not an Israeli national and not guilty of any malice whatsoever) first fell into Israeli hands in 1986, where might she initially have been held?
Probably in a women’s prison, Neve Tirza.
Thanks, will research a bit.
There’s an outstanding missing person inquiry from then, with no meaningful leads.
The corrupt former senior police officer responsible for the comprehensive absence of meaningful leads, has strong links to Israeli companies and former senior Shin Bet officers.
I can’t think of any reason for Israeli involvement, but the paw-prints of their highly-rewarded poodle are everywhere, so I suppose there must be something. There’s no actual point in a cover-up when people can guess what it’s about, of course.
“While I have heard various rumors, my guess is that Maya Alon told him that she wanted a divorce. It’s possible that she had met another man and needed a divorce to remarry. That’s the only information I can think of that would drive him to such despair.”
“He was a man facing 10-20 years in prison. That he might’ve been able to withstand. But knowing that his wife had deserted him, that might make the upcoming jail sentence impossible to endure. If any of what I’ve conjectured is true, then Zygier’s wife bears a measure of responsibility for this tragedy.”
Is there a source with facts/evidence of what transpired in the cell during the visit of his wife Maya with child. No one wants to place a newborn baby in a stressful situation assuming your conjecture is factual. The whole episode of Zygier’s last days and the visit with his attorney Avigdor Feldman is surreal:
“Feldman said that security officials had approved a request he had made to see the evidence in the case against Zygier, but the next day he died and Feldman did not have a chance to see the evidence. He also said that by no means did Zygier seem to be someone ready to kill himself.”
You have written about a Shabak induced “cancer cure” to terminate a prisoner’s life. One video camera not working, a prison guard stepping away from his post, Ben Zygier opting to step into eternal life. Was the visit of Maya Alon the last wish of a man who chose death over humiliation and a long prison term? Shin Bet must have dealt Zygier a final offer he couldn’t refuse … perhaps with some renumeration for his family. Buying silence.
Qui, as before, I tend to invest credence with the dark theory you are hinting at. Ben Zygier, offered a chance at a sepuku, with compensation for the family and a promise of some honor restored, took it.
may be not depressed – just caught in an impossible moral conundrum from which there’s only one escae/
i like the suggestion of the visit by Maya being his last wish. With the newborn.
I am also astounded by what was disclosed about the many ways in which his suicide was allowed to proceed. “Allowed’ is the operating word, at least by the accounts indicated in the report now released.
I further note that we have only Feldman’s word about maya asking for a divorce (may be also telling him the child wasn’t his? as ben would surely know if he was locked up for 10 months straight?). i will also note that it was feldman who first said that Zygier’s mind frame was not suicidal the day before it became just so. Therefore casting serious doubt on the suicide ‘theory” (we only have the prison and Mossad’s word on that, don’t we?). Now he is saying something to “uncast” doubts on Zygier’s mind frame.
To me it seems like a whole lot of work going into convincing us – out there – and the israeli public – that Zygier, was in fact suicidally minded.
Ah, but for a drop of truth!
I can’t understand why can’t people understand that a country with so many enemies has a real need of holding a few people, whether traitors or external enemies, imprisoned. It makes perfect sense to me that some cases should not be exposed. The Zigier case is an example of how to do this “right”. The family was informed, he had a legal representation, and his former country has also been officially informed. All other democratic countries who have enemies, would have just eliminated such persons…..
@Steve: Israel’s treatment of its dissidents creates more enemies both inside & outside Israel. Not to mention that Zygier had not been tried and convicted of anything & so cannot be called a “traitor” except by idiots like you.
Australia was not “informed” of anything except that he’d been arrested. There was no further update on his condition. Nor did Australia itself take any interest in his fate.
You’re a real joker, aren’t you? Either you’re an ignorant fool or exist in an alternate state of reality.
“She essentially caused his death”
Saying that Maya’s decision to divorce her husband caused him to kill himself is a very manipulative way to look at things.
One can divorce his/her spouse without having to deal with such emotional extortion in return.
The question here is who is this prisoner and what did he do to be locked in this kind of isolation.also there is still antobet question..Where is asgari? Was he kidnapped ? And by whom?