A historian of Jewish ethics will one day have to describe our nation as one that moved from a culture of disgust with collaborating with regimes to one in which informing on others is a daily routine.
In 1984, when the parents of two of the hijackers of Bus No. 300 went to the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine to identify their loved ones, they could not differentiate between them since their faces had been so disfigured when they were murdered, foreign media reports said at the time. Ehud Yatom, a former senior Shin Bet security service officer who was involved in the incident, recently said in his own defense that he was not the only one who had done so; he of course was referring to the "annihilation" of the hijackers at the hands of the Shin Bet and not necessarily to the defacement. Had a pardon not been granted in time, a little bit more would have been known of what the Shin Bet does not like to boast about - the part that abuse plays in controlling the territories.
Let us assume that Yatom and his men were really the exceptions from the point of view of cruelty. (After all, the hijackers had not killed any of the bus passengers. En route they had even allowed a pregnant woman to get off and this made it possible later for the security forces to know exactly where each one of the hijackers was sitting. ) However, permission to murder the hijackers; the way in which they were murdered; the blood libel against the officer who led the storming of the bus, then-Brig. Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai; the obstruction of justice, and the partnership of the current president, Shimon Peres, in the obstruction - all prove what has already been said many times about secret mechanisms: Their methods are as illegal as those with whom they come into contact.
Take, for example, the judges who for at least two decades chose to believe the claims of the Shin Bet interrogators that "the accused was not tortured at all." Today it is known that Shin Bet witnesses lied for years and that the judges who sent huge numbers of accused to hundreds of cumulative years of imprisonment were cooperating with a mechanism that was above the law.
That is a reason to prevent Avi Dichter, a former Shin Bet head, from being a legislator. His competition with the dead Meir Kahane and the living Avigdor Lieberman is an inherent part of the way in which for many years he ruled over the exposed, tortured, beaten and humiliated Palestinian body that was thrown into jail without due process and without defense, as if it were not that of a human being.
On the other hand, what will the small fry of Kadima say about the Hebrew University, that bastion of the humanities, which chose Carmi Gillon as vice president of external relations, even though it knew - and this includes the senior staff of the Israel Democracy Institute - that when he headed the Shin Bet, the policy of torturing Palestinian detainees reached a peak?
Even if these people's actions were done with the backing of the law, such actions disqualify them, from the point of view of "public hygiene," from serving in positions that involve contact with the Arab population and democracy. Specifically because of their career that was connected with torture and illegality.
Shortly after the occupation, Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz was wont to warn his listeners that if Israel did not leave the territories immediately the entire country would become a front, and the entire nation would be Shin Bet. A historian of Jewish ethics will one day have to describe our nation as one that moved from a culture of disgust with collaborating with regimes to one in which informing on others is a daily routine: Hello, there's an Arab here working in the garden; hello, a construction worker is eating his lunch on our sidewalk. But until the historian summarizes Jewish culture, it is worthwhile considering the Dichter case and his fascist draft law as a symptom.
Let's save ourselves the cliches about the heavy debt that all of us owe to a certain person whose service included torture, imprisonment without trial, false witness in a trial within a trial. Let's save ourselves the pretensions of innocence such as "there is no difference between Shin Bet people and army people." And we will remind the merciful that Shin Bet people get a good pension. Some of them deal in information to foreign organizations. That is enough for them. Dichter, get lost!