Shin Bet Turns to Arabic After Inadvertently Summoning 7-year-old Palestinian

Because summons was written only in Hebrew, the boy's parents did not understand that the notification had been delivered by mistake.

The Shin Bet summonses for questioning which Israel Defense Forces soldiers serve Palestinians will be written in Arabic in addition to Hebrew from now on. The development stems from orders handed down by the IDF's West Bank division commander, Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon.

The move, of which the IDF informed Haaretz last week, follows an incident about six weeks ago in which the IDF mistakenly delivered a Shin Bet summons for the questioning of a 7-year-old boy. Because the summons was written only in Hebrew, and not Arabic as well, the boy's parents did not understand that the notification had been delivered by mistake.

Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin in Jerusalem
Emil Salman

As reported by Haaretz last month - and as is common practice in many cases involving Shin Bet summonses and in arrest cases, even of minors - IDF soldiers delivered the order by awakening the Za'akik family at 3 A.M. in the village of Beit Omar, near Hebron.

One of the soldiers, apparently the commander, announced that the son was required to appear for questioning by "Captain Tamir" of the Shin Bet at the coordination and communication base at Gush Etzion in the West Bank. The parents told the soldier that their son was just 7 years old. They produced the addendum to their identity card on which the son's name appeared, but the soldier delivered the summons anyway.

The form on which the summons was printed was in Arabic as well as Hebrew, but the name of the individual to whom it was directed was handwritten in Hebrew only. The soldiers neglected to compare the name on the summons with the name on the identity card, and so they did not discover that the names were not actually the same.

In the end, the parents chose not to send their son for questioning.

Spokesmen for the IDF and the Shin Bet security services explained to Haaretz that the IDF soldiers had gone to the wrong address.