Haaretz reported (in English) today that a senior member of the Israeli prime minister’s office (PMO) serving in a “sensitive” post, secretly received an “extended sentence” for serial sexual abuse of several women working with him. He was prosecuted, tried and imprisoned in secret. He is in prison under an assumed name. The report indicated the abuse occurred “years ago.”
Use of the term “sensitive” in an Israeli context usually indicates that the individual served in a high level intelligence or military role. If so, then this individual could have compromised Israeli security in the midst of his sexual improprieties.
Revealing his name is barred in Israel, though outside it. I urge any Israeli who knows more about this case to contact me.
The excuses offered for protecting the predator and his identity are ludicrous and typical for Israel’s male supremacist society:
- Secrecy will protect the women who were his victims
- The perpetrator might be killed in prison if his identity was known
It is nonsense to claim that female victims need protection in this manner. Most of all, they need justice. Only exposure and shaming of those who commit such crimes will deter other predators from following in their footsteps. Further, there are ways to protect the identity of victims while revealing the nature of the crime committed against them. Refusing to do so constitutes a cover-up in which the rights of women are subjugated to the alleged good of the country.
But clearly the police are far more interested in protecting the predator, as they note in claiming he might be killed. There are many Israeli men in prison for abusing women. Few are harmed, even fewer killed. There is little reason to believe this man would suffer such a fate.
It does suggest though that the Israeli prison service can’t protect its own inmates. Security in prisons is so poor that any old inmate harboring a grudge against any other could exact his pound of flesh at will. The prison service here exposes its own ineptitude.
The Haaretz article omits what is perhaps an even more important reason for secrecy: this is the second lurid sex scandal to beset the PMO in the past two years. Earlier, Netanyahu’s long-time buddy and chief of staff, Natan Eshel, engaged in a pathetic pattern of repeated abuse against a female staff member he supervised. This included taking pictures of her beneath her skirt, among others.
Now comes yet another example of sexual impropriety run rampant in the office of the leader of the nation. One wonders what it must be like to be a woman working for the prime minister. Many of them must feel like fish in a barrel.
As for the term “Prisoner X3,” many of you will remember that I reported the case of an Israeli who committed suicide in an Israeli prison cell. In an effort to throw me off the trail, an ex-Shabak agent serving as a source at the time told me he was an Iranian general. He was, in fact, Ben Zygier.
There is another secret prisoner serving a 14-year sentence in an Israeli prison (Prisoner X2). He too serves his sentence under an assumed name and his identity may not be revealed. Formerly, he was a Mossad agent who directed the agency’s Iran desk.
Today’s story makes it three, hence the moniker, Prisoner X3.
Israel is one of the few nations calling itself a western democracy which imprisons so many under such covert circumstances. Clearly, national security as defined by male State authorities trumps the rights of women to be safe in the workplace.