Shin Bet spends none of its big new budget on finding Jewish terrorists
Haaretz on the defence budget followed by i24 on low concern for hate crimes against Palestinians.
Mossad and Shin Bet allotted $1.9 billion last year, marking eighth straight year budget has risen
By Gili Cohen, Haaretz
May 22, 2014
Israel intelligence agency budgets increased by 10 percent in 2013 to 6.63 billion shekels ($1.9 billion,) according to data published by the Finance Ministry.
The treasury figures, published on an online government database, show that the Mossad espionage agency and the Shin Bet security service had a combined regular budget of 6.48 billion shekels, in addition to 156 million shekels of expenses that were conditioned upon on income. In 2012, the agencies had a combined regular budget of 5.91 billion shekels and 269 million conditioned upon income.
The agencies’ budget has risen every year since 2006, when it stood at only 4.28 billion shekels.
The budget for the two intelligence agencies doesn’t [have] its own line item in the annual budget passed by Knesset. Instead, it’s initially included in the general budget and subsequently transferred to the defense budget with authorization from the Knesset Finance Committee. This enables the agencies’ budget to remain shrouded in secrecy without disclosing what the money is used for, or even how much goes to the Mossad and how much to the Shin Bet.
The fact that their budget is subsumed under another category increases that defense budget beyond the level approved by the Knesset in the annual budget law. A senior defense official criticized this practice on Wednesday, saying it results in much of the public thinking the defense budget is more than 60 billion shekels, when in fact, the funding available to the Defense Ministry and the Israel Defense Forces is billions of shekels less.
In November, Haaretz reported that pensions for Mossad and Shin Bet retirees — which are funded entirely out of the state budget, rather via a pension fund to which agency personnel must contribute during their working years — cost the government 871 million shekels in 2013 alone. But unlike the agencies’ operating budgets, their pension costs are listed separately, under the code names “security 1” and “security 2.” That makes it possible to determine that slightly more than half this sum, or 442 million shekels, goes to Shin Bet pensioners, while the remaining 429 million shekels go to Mossad retirees.
Undated photo of price-tag vandalism in ‘Price tag’ attacks are at worst terrorism and at best hate crimes, MEMO, May 8th, 2014.
Former Shin Bet head to i24news: more important to prevent terror attacks than hate crimes against Arabs
May 04, 2014
Even as additional hate crimes were carried out Sunday against Israeli Arabs, two former heads of the country’s internal security service, the Shin Bet, disagreed on the question of whether authorities truly want to catch the perpetrators.
“There’s no such thing as can’t – there’s don’t want to,” said Carmi Gillon, who headed the Shin Bet in the 1990s.
“If the head of the Shin Bet decides to deal with a certain issue, there will be results. Just like there was with the Jewish underground – back then we dealt with them as terrorist groups.” Gillon headed the agency at the time of the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by a far-right Jewish extremist.
Former Shin Bet Director Avi Dichter disagreed, calling Gillon’s remarks irresponsible.
Dichter, speaking to i24news, said it takes time to develop tools and assets for dealing with what is a relatively new brand of subversive activity on the part of Jewish extremists, especially inside Israel. In the past, most such attacks were carried out against Palestinian targets in the West Bank.
But he conceded that it was a matter of priorities, with most of the Shin Bet’s assets directed at preventing life threatening terror attacks. “Painting a Star of David on a car or mosque is, of course, serious, but it’s not life threatening,” he said.
Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni, speaking to Israeli army radio, called the “price tag” perpetrators “terrorists who have so far limited themselves to vandalism.”
“They want to make Israeli society hate-ridden,” she added, “and therefore very severe action must be taken against them. Some elements should be put in jail, but we must also deny them, to say out loud: this is not our Star of David (Israeli national symbol – i24news). Our Star of David is different.”
Meanwhile, right-wing activists clashed early Sunday morning with police who came to the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar to search the home of a couple suspected of carrying out a hate crime against Israeli Arab citizens.
According to The Times of Israel, activists threw rocks at police and damaged a Border Police vehicle.
The couple, parents of five children, were arrested last week on suspicion of involvement in a racist attack in the northern Israeli Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, in which the front door of a mosque was torched.
In another attack on Sunday, vandals spray painted “death to Arabs” on a tractor and shed at a construction site near Jerusalem, where Israeli Arabs are employed.
On Saturday, extremists uprooted more than 30 olive tree saplings planted by Palestinians and painted anti-Arab graffiti on rocks near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Bat Ayn.
Arab community leaders appealed in recent days to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to intervene in order to put an end to the growing wave of hate crimes. The mayors and head of local councils warned that Arab hotheads might take the law into their own hands against the Jewish extremists.
Retaliation appears to have begun already. On Saturday, police announced that they had arrested two Arab Israelis caught in the act of spraying red paint on an Israeli flag in Jaffa. Police believe they were responsible for the spray-painting of 60 flags.
Senior police commanders met in recent days with Arab leaders to assure them that all was being done to catch the perpetrators, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni intends to hold consultations later this week with representatives of law enforcement agencies on how to deal with the growing violence.
May 22, 2014
The total budget of the different Israeli intelligence services has risen by 10 per cent in 2013 to reach NIS6.6 billion ($1.9 billion), according to data published by the Israeli ministry of finance.
Leading Israeli daily Haaretz reported the news on Thursday, pointing out that the two main recipients of the money are the Mossad and Shin Bet.
However, exactly how the intelligence services specifically spent the allocated money was not revealed by either the ministry or the newspaper.
The data shows that last year’s budget marked the highest consecutive rise since 2006. The budget was NIS4.6 billion ($1.3 billion) in 2006 and it has subsequently continued rising until it reached NIS6.6 billion ($1.9 billion) in 2013.
The budget of the Israeli intelligence services is directly controlled by the prime minister’s office, but is included in the budget of the ministry of defence.
No accurate data is known about the specifics of the intelligence budget. It is referred to in the budget of the ministry of defence simply as “deduction from the public reserve”.
Haaretz suggests this is an intentional blackout on the details of the budget, which is approved by the Knesset without knowledge of where the money is going: to Mossad, Shabak or Shin Bet.