Children from a recently dismantled illegal outpost last month.(Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)
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Right-Wing MKs Betray the Israeli Army

Powerful Likud politician tipped off extremists who attacked soldiers

Liel Leibovitz
January 09, 2012
Children from a recently dismantled illegal outpost last month.(Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

Yesterday, five right-wing Jewish extremists were indicted by Jerusalem’s district prosecutor for spying on the Israel Defense Forces in an effort to disrupt the army’s evacuation of illegal outposts in the West Bank, an organized campaign of violence that included bashing a senior IDF officer in the face with a brick as well as large-scale vandalism against army bases and vehicles. The indictment might not have been breaking news if it weren’t for the settlers’ sources: the chairman of the coalition, Likud MK Ze’ev Elkin, as well as several other right-wing parliamentarians were the settlers’ informants.

The very same Elkin was behind a recent bill to investigate left-wing non-profits who receive funding from international sources. His argument revolved around the assertion that in making the IDF’s actions public, leftist activists were jeopardizing IDF soldiers and state security. None of the non-profits, however, reported on future or current operations; Elkin did, and in so doing put Israeli soldiers in direct physical harm.

One of Elkin’s fellow informants, National Union MK Uri Ariel, made no apologies once his role in supporting the extremists became public. “If a person who transfers information about IDF movements is a spy,” he said, “then I am a spy.”
Ariel has it exactly right. He is a spy, and should be treated as one, along with Elkin and anyone else who knowingly supplied classified information pertaining to military movements to armed and radical terrorists who then used it to confront and attack Israeli soldiers. They should be arrested, tried, and jailed.

Of course, that will never happen. With a strong grasp on the parliament, Elkin, Ariel, and their colleagues are free to continue their crusade against democracy. Some other recent examples: In a debate earlier this morning—convened by right-wing legislators in order to discipline an Arab-Israeli school principal who dared to take his students to a Tel Aviv march for human rights—Yisrael Beitinu MK Anastasia Michaeli interrupted Labor MK Ghaleb Majadale, himself an Israeli Arab, as the latter was defending the principal’s actions. Majadale told Michaeli to shut up, at which point she calmly left the room, obtained a glass of water, returned to the room, and threw the water in Majadale’s face. Alex Miller, the panel’s chairman and a member of Yisrael Beitinu, refused to discipline Michaeli.

It is time to stop mincing words. Anyone who cares at all about its future should insist that Elkin and his ilk are tossed out of the parliament and put in prison where they rightly belong.

Liel Leibovitz is editor-at-large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One. He is the editor of Zionism: The Tablet Guide.