Arab Leaders Air Public Relations Campaign Against Shin Bet

Opposition follows Shin Bet plan to disrupt activities of any group seeking to change Jewish character of Israel.

Arab leaders are expected to announce on Friday an organized public relations campaign against the Shin Bet security service. Opposition within the Arab sector to Shin Bet policy arose after the security service declared that it intends to disrupt the activities of any groups that seek to change the Jewish or democratic character of Israel, even if they use democratic means.

The campaign will be announced at a conference of the Adalah Center for Arab Minority Rights in Shfaram Friday afternoon.

Arab source said that during the meeting, delegates would discuss the relationship of the Arab public to the Shin Bet and elucidate ways of dealing with the Shin Bet's treatment of the Arab sector.

All figures involved in drafting the four documents relating to the future of the Arab sector in Israel have been invited to participate in the summit.

This includes those who drafted Musawa organization's Ten Points, Adalah's Democratic Constitution, the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee's Future Vision, and the yet-unpublished Haifa Treaty. Also invited were Knesset members from all Arab political parties.

Adalah has a criminal probe into the Shin Bet's activity, accusing the security service of exceeding its authority and causing incitement against the Arab public.

The Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz last month to order the Shin Bet to stop trying to block what the group called legitimate political activity.

ACRI's petition follows a letter the Shin Bet sent the previous week to the predominantly Arab Balad party's journal, Fasal al-Makal, warning that it would foil the activity of anyone seeking to harm Israel's Jewish or democratic character, even if that activity was carried out by legal means.

The letter came in response to a complaint filed by Fasal al-Makal to the Prime Minister's Office about a report in Maariv a few days earlier, in which Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin was quoted calling what was happening among Israeli Arabs as a "strategic threat." The issue was raised following the recent drafting of four documents in the Arab community calling for a revision of Israel's character