In the next few days, the government is expected to approve Yoram Cohen's appointment as the new head of the Shin Bet security service. The appointment was preceded by an organized campaign on the part of certain elements in Judea and Samaria and the national Haredi branch of religious Zionism - aimed at stopping the man who headed Shin Bet's Jewish department, Y., from obtaining the organization's top spot. This was accomplished by directing political pressure at the prime minister.
Such conduct is unacceptable and should be condemned. It's no wonder it drew significant reaction and unease among large segments of Israeli society. These groups' inappropriate intervention demonstrates their continued degeneration into behavior best described as sectarian, tribal and provincial; behavior that is antithetical to the fundamental principles of the original concept of religious Zionism. These groups were not guided by the best interests of the Shin Bet, or concern for the security of the state; certainly they did not care that the most capable person be appointed to the job.
Perhaps it would have been possible to understand their actions had they recommended a specific candidate of their own, out of inner conviction and a deep belief that he was the most appropriate person to head the security service. But they did not suggest anyone - that's not what interested them. All of their activities were motivated by one goal: to prevent the appointment of Y. And all because Y.'s work as head of the Jewish department did not appeal to some of the settlers.
These people were, apparently, happy to see the department closed - allowing the hooligans involved in the criminal activity they call "price tag," and in preventing IDF soldiers from carrying out their duties, to operate at will.
The only sin committed by Y. (whom I have never met ) is that he acted professionally and with determination in fulfilling his duties, as ordered by the State of Israel, and refused to accept dictates from anyone. After all, he was not acting on his own volition. His decisions were approved and were then carried out with the approval of Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin - one of the best heads of the service in the history of Israel - and were laid out by the political leadership. This organized campaign against someone who dedicated many years of his life to the security of Israel is despicable. If the report that the prime minister refused to meet with Rabbi Haim Druckman on this matter is true, he should be praised.
But when all is said and done, there should be no doubt about Yoram Cohen's appointment to the job. Cohen was not involved in the foul activity carried out by those elements, and has no connection to any of them. It is doubtful he was even aware that this was going on, some of it happened under semi-covert conditions; and even if he did know, I'm convinced he did not like it.
Cohen has an impressive record of service in the Shin Bet and the facts show that he is worthy for the job. This is further proven by statements made by former Shin Bet heads Yaakov Perry and Avi Dichter, and senior Shin Bet figures like Yisrael Hasson and Gideon Ezra, who complimented Cohen's appointment and welcomed it warmly.
The methods used by extremist elements on the religious right are paved with strategic mistakes, and here too they are due for a surprise. Cohen (whom I also have never met ) will faithfully carry out his duties, follow the instructions of the political leadership with determination and defend the State of Israel against subversive activities, regardless of their origin.