Diaspora Minister and former Israeli military spokesperson Nachman Shai said on Thursday morning in a radio interview regarding the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh that, "With all due respect to us, let's say that Israel's credibility is not very high in such events."
"We know this," Shai added, "It is based on the past."
Shireen Abu Akleh, a dual U.S.-Palestinian citizen, was killed in an exchange of fire between Israel Defense Forces and armed Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday. Her death sparked condemnation from the U.S., the European Union, the UN, Turkey, and Qatar.
Palestinian officials such as Civil Affairs Minister claim her death was a targeted assassination by Israel. Israeli military sources, on the other hand, say that in the course of the military raid in Jenin, Abu Akleh was killed in an exchange of gunfire between Israeli forces and Palestinian gunmen – and that it remains unclear whose gunfire is responsible for her death.
Israel approached the Palestinian Authority requesting to obtain the bullet removed from Abu Akleh's body in order to conduct forensic tests and determine the source of fire that killed her, and had offered to conduct a joint investigation into her death with the Palestinians.
The office of Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Israels official governing body in the West Bank, offered to have representatives of the Palestinian Authority and the United States present in the course of the examination.
Palestinian officials rejected both requests.
- Palestinian Authority rejects Israeli appeal for joint probe into journalist's death
- Israel asks Palestinian Authority for bullet that killed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh
- Shireen Abu Akleh was more than a journalist. She was a Palestinian symbol
According to polling by the Israel Democracy Institute, a think tank, while the IDF remains "the institution with the highest level of public trust” in the country, there has been a dramatic decline in its credibility among Jewish citizens. While 90 percent of Jews expressed trust in the military in 2018, only 78% voiced similar feelings in late 2021, which the IDI said was “the lowest figure since 2008.”
However, the trend appears reversed among Arab-Israelis, with 36% reporting that they trusted the IDF in 2021, up significantly from the 19.5% recorded only three years earlier.
Nachman Shai, who served as IDF spokesman during the first Gulf War, became a household name when he helped to keep people calm in radio broadcasts after Scud alarms. He has served as Broadcasting Authority chairman and founded Channel 2 and later became diaspora minister in 2021, pledging that full equality for all Jewish denominations would be a cornerstone of his policy.