Roni Alsheikh, Israel’s new police chief, plans to promote Ilan Mor (in English), a commander convicted of sexual harassment of female subordinates. Despite the conviction and a “severe reprimand” added to his personnel file, Alsheikh plans to appoint Mor to be Israel police liaison in the U.S., where he will coördinate criminal investigations between the two countries. This is an extremely important and prestigious post in the police hierarchy.
Israel feminists have been quick to raise their voices in protest. The chair of the Knesset committee on the status of women, MK Aida Toma-Suleiman, asked how women’s groups could continue encouraging victims of sexual assault and harassment to come forward to report crimes to the police when a sexual abuser was rewarded with such a distinguished post. What does it say about both the status of women in Israel and about the value senior police officials attach to this issue–that they would offer such a plum assignment to someone found guilty of abusing women. Toma-Suleiman called on the Minister of Internal Security, Gil Erdan, to intervene in the matter and reject the promotion.
If I were the U.S. counterparts he’ll be working with, I’d make sure not to offer him any opportunities to be alone with female colleagues. This man is a disaster waiting to happen.
The Israeli police have had repeated episode of sexual abuse by commanders of their subordinates. They also had repeated episodes of bribe-taking, collusion with mafiosi, and other forms of sleaze. It’s a force of made-men (there are almost no women at command levels).
Readers will know that this story covers two important subjects to which I’ve dedicated this blog: violence and abuse condoned by Israeli society against women; and the internal corruption that lies at the heart of Israel’s dysfunction.
On a related note, Haaretz reports that a Palestinian Christian priest, Gabriel Nadaf, who leads a campaign to encourage Christian youth to enlist in the IDF, has been charged with serial sexual advances to boys he has aided in their military service. He’s also been charged with taking bribes from businessmen in return for arranging visas to advance their commercial enterprises. He is married and has two children.
Young people with whom Nadaf worked to recruit Christian boys to join the IDF repeatedly warned Israeli officials about the priest’s misbehavior. But they preferred to turn a blind eye since Nadaf was such a valuable Palestinian to the government. Israel likes to recruit token members of ethnic minorities to positions of influence in return for their aid in hasbara initiatives.
As I’ve written, one method which Israel exploits against enemies both within and without, is to split them into subgroups which compete or attack each other. It did this with Hamas in relation to Fatah; and with Hezbollah in relation to the PLO. It pumps up the weaker, smaller minority against the stronger. Then lets them fight it out. The more dissension there is within the enemy camp, the less ability it has to make common cause against Israel.
The Jewish state also exploits this tactic against the Palestinian minority within its boundaries (if Israel has any boundaries). Palestinian Muslims (the majority of Palestinians) largely refuse to serve in the IDF. Christians too have refused to serve. But Nadaf permitted the government to drive a wedge into this community through his encouraging the young men to break with tradition and serve. In doing so, the Likudist government could both boast that members of the Palestinian minority were doing their patriotic duty; and it split off Palestinians from the prevailing consensus of military refusal. A win-win for Zionism, Likud-style leaving a weakened Palestinian minority in its wake.
Gabriel Nadaf was the favored Palestinian just as wealthy, powerful Christians have had Jews do their dirty work for them in the past. Just as plantation owners had the house slave who enjoyed privileges denied the field slaves. Just as all colonial powers have lifted up a privileged few from among victimized peoples. It offers the downtrodden someone they can look up to. Someone they can aspire to be. Without recognizing that almost none of them will be permitted to achieve this level of power and influence.
But invariably, the chosen few, offered power and privilege, abuse their position for their own benefit. They become as corrupt as their masters. That’s what happened to Father Nadaf apparently.
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.