Shin Bet officer promoted after reprimand for ordering genital search of Palestinian

According to Haaretz, former agency director recommend firing operative who called for unwarranted examination of woman in 2015, against protocol

Illustrative: Palestinian women at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Bethlehem June 10, 2016. (Wisam hashlamoun/FLASH90/File)
Illustrative: Palestinian women at a checkpoint in the West Bank city of Bethlehem June 10, 2016. (Wisam hashlamoun/FLASH90/File)

A senior Shin Bet officer suspected of ordering an unnecessary genital search of a female Palestinian detainee was reportedly promoted despite recommendations by the former director of the security service to fire him.

The officer, known under the pseudonym of “Yossi,” allegedly ordered a genital examination of a Palestinian woman in 2015, while serving as a district coordinator, the Haaretz daily reported on Thursday. According to the newspaper, there was no “operational need” for such a search at the time.

In 2017, Yossi was questioned over the allegations, and last year, the case against him was closed by the State Prosecutor’s Office, due to lack of evidence.

The report said Yossi, who held a senior position at the office of the current Shin Bet chief, Ronen Bar, when he was the security service’s deputy, was promoted, despite recommendations by the former director to punish the officer.

Sources told the newspaper that former Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman recommended that Yossi should have been denied a promotion, and possibly fired over the allegations.

After Bar took over as director in October 2021, the agency decided not to punish Yossi, but rather issue a “severe reprimand,” the report said. Following that measure, he was promoted to a more senior position within the security agency.

Ronen Bar, then-new Shin Bet chief, leaves his home in Rishpon on October 11, 2021. (Flash90)

The Shin Bet denied that Bar was involved in preventing disciplinary action against Yossi, telling the newspaper that “all the decisions taken at the end of the disciplinary procedure regarding Yossi were made exclusively and entirely by the head of human resources.”

“All the recommendations, including the command measures determined by the head of the human resources division, were fully implemented. Any attempt to portray things differently is unfounded,” a response to Haaretz said.

The Shin Bet added that it viewed the case with “seriousness,” adding that “beyond the personal actions taken with those involved, the incident and the lessons to be derived from it are included in training for operatives in the field.”

Head of the Shin Bet security service Nadav Argaman attends the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset on November 6, 2018. (Hadas Parush/Flash90/File)

The newspaper said the Palestinian woman was detained on alleged terrorism offenses. An Israel Defense Forces doctor and another female soldier searched her genitalia and anus due to suspicions she was hiding a SIM card she allegedly used to contact Hamas members, the report said.

According to Haaretz, several other Shin Bet officers involved in the incident still hold their positions, but an IDF officer tied to the case was denied further promotions.

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