Shin Bet Applied 'Legitimate' Methods to Probe Jewish Terrorist, Security Sources Say

Chaim Pearlman says newly released audio recordings show Shin Bet agent coerced the suspected Jewish terrorist to initiate attacks on Arabs.

The Shin Bet denied Thursday claims it coerced suspected Jewish terrorist Chaim Pearlman to conduct attacks against Arabs, saying the exchanges recorded in the tapes released earlier Thursday represented a legitimate way to extract a confession from Pearlman.

Chaim Pearlman
Moti Kimche

Chaim Pearlman was arrested earlier this week, initially on suspicion of carrying out two murders in 1998, and for a series of attacks against other Palestinian victims over the last 12 years. The Petah Tikva Magistrates' Court on Thursday extended his remand by six days.

New recordings released Thursday by sources close to Pearlman claimed to have proved that Pearlman was encouraged by an alleged Shin Bet agent to commit violent acts, including the assassination of Sheik Ra'ad Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

The Shin Bet confirmed that the organization had operated Pearlman as an agent in 2000 (and not in 2002, as was previously reported), in which time the Shin Bet claimed they had no knowledge of his alleged involvement in the late-1990's killings for which he was arrested.

Contacts between the Shin Bet and the suspected Jewish terrorist were first renewed, security sources told Haaretz, by agents who were able to extract what they considered incriminating information regarding the arracks for which he is suspected.

Pearlman was later contacted by a Shin Bet agent who tried to make Pearlman talk of the incidents linked to him, which constitute the recordings released by Pearlman's associates Thursday.

According to security sources speaking to Haaretz later Thursday, the Shin Bet's Jewish Division has found it difficult to track violent individuals within extreme right-wing circles, a fact that necessitated the use of various investigation ploys.

The sources added, however, that the probe in its entirety –conducted in cooperating with Israel Police – was closely supervised and approved by the State Prosecutor's Office.

While the exchanges recorded in the tapes could "sound unpleasant" to those exposed to them now, the sources said, they represented a legitimate and high-probability way to extract a confession from Pearlman.

Security sources also told Haaretz that the only reason the organization had been in contact with the extreme right-wing man was in order to investigate his alleged involvement with the series of Jerusalem killings for which he was arrested.