A former Israeli security head warned Friday that societal divides have led to the creation of a hard-line Jewish settler state alongside Israel, in a sharply worded missive capping a week of soul searching within the country following a terror attack apparently by Jewish terrorists.
Yuval Diskin, a former head of the Shin Bet security service, warned that a rising right-wing and religious country is de facto coming into existence, dubbing it the “State of Judea,” using the biblical term for the southern West Bank, and describing efforts to staunch Jewish terror as too little too late.
Judea is a “nation of Jewish law, of terror, of hatred against the other, or racism. Today, even the rabbis who gave birth to these delusional ideologies have become too moderate and soft in the eyes of some of their flock,” Diskin wrote.
His comments, posted on Facebook late Friday afternoon, came as Israeli officials have vowed to crack down on Jewish extremists in the West Bank and elsewhere following the firebombing of Palestinian houses in the village of Duma last week that left an 18-month-old child dead and his parents and sibling critically injured.
A day earlier, a religious extremist stabbed six people at a Jerusalem Gay Pride parade, killing a teen girl.
Diskin said his agency never prioritized fighting Jewish terror.
“Now and forever there has been a total lack of interest and a lack of will to tackle this issue at the political level,” he wrote.
It has always been of greater interest, he added, to investigate Arab and other forms of terrorism. Those that do work to combat Jewish terrorism in the Shin Bet, he said, are often met with tough criticism by the religious community.
Diskin listed several members of the Jewish department charged with fighting Jewish terror and other high-ranking religious officers in the Shin Bet service who have been harassed by right-wing activists and even by some “mainstream” Orthodox rabbis.
Allegations of these sort have been bandied about for years, and discussed within the defense establishment itself, but for reasons of security and secrecy seldom discussed openly.
Diskin, who has been rumored to be considering a political career since leaving the Shin Bet in 2011, is a frequent and scathing critic of the policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
His statement was noteworthy for not just warning that a Jewish religious state in the West Bank was in the offing, as is suggested whenever Israel gets close to a peace agreement with the Palestinians and the threat of an Israeli disengagement from the West Bank looms, but that, to all intents and purposes, it already exists.
Recent years have seen an uptick in the severity of Jewish terrorism and “price tag” attacks — acts of vandalism and violence against Palestinians and other non-Jews.
“In the ‘State of Judea’ there are different standards, different value systems, different approaches to democracy,” Diskin wrote, “and there are two legal systems. One that judges Jews (Israeli law) and one that judges Palestinians (martial law).”
In the religious, right-wing Judea, he added, “the [law] enforcement against Jews is disturbingly weak.”
The recent push to have the so-called “price tag” attacks be declared illegal was essentially too little too late, Diskin wrote.
The central problem in this situation, he said, was the religious Zionist concept of “holiness of the land,” instead of “holiness of the people.”
It means that believers will take whatever steps are necessary to defend the land, even at the expense of the people.
“There is nothing more dangerous to the national security than that,” he said.