Tag Archives: shin bet

Mumbai Attack, Jewish Angle

By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler

All our Thanksgiving weekends were touched with sadness as news from Mumbai interrupted what should have been cheery days watching football and spending time with family. The details of the perpetrators’ motivation and planning are still being worked out, but we know a number of attackers landed via boat at Mumbai on Wednesday and attacked specific locations around the city, from malls to cafes to train stations. The most publicized was a siege at the Taj Mahal Hotel that lasted until the weekend.

In all, at least 179 were killed and 239 injured.

We at Moment were particularly aghast when we heard that one location the attackers targeted was the Lubavitch Chabad center. The bodies of six Chabad center victims–Chabad emissaries Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, Yocheved Orpaz, Ben-Zion Kruman, Aryeh Leibish Teitelbaum and Norma Schvartzblat-Rabinowitz–were flown to Israel today for burial.

As for an official response, Israeli Prime Minister Yehud Olmert and the Shin Bet cleared India for all responsibility, despite recent reports indicating that counterterrorism forces in Mumbai were woefully unprepared, and even praised the rescue efforts.

Olmert also spoke of the terrible associations we all have when we hear of terrorists targeting Jews. His comments were poignant and, sadly, too true:

“The images of the Jewish victims and the horrific sight of the Chabad house managers wrapped in prayer shawls are shocking and take us back to images from history that we hoped wouldn’t repeat themselves,” Olmert said. “But it seems that the hatred of Jews and Israelis is what spurs these horrible deeds.

Jewish news agencies and blogs have been all over the attack. Here’s a smattering of what they’re talking about: Continue reading

Shin Bet Justice: Tunnel Vision?

Tunneling under Israel

Tunneling under Israel

Tunnels. The very word connotes ancient secrets, mystic rites and modern adventure. Israel is blessed with tunnels both natural (the country gets whole pages on spelunking websites) and man made: The “Rabbinical” tunnels alongside and beneath the Temple Mount get lots of attention. Their excavation launched Arab riots as well as a new locus for tourism. (Jerusalem’s coolest tunnel is Hezekiah’s ancient passage to the Gihon Spring, seen at right.)

For Israel’s security forces, it’s the tunnels under Gaza’s border with Egypt that, understandably, generate the most interest. Egypt’s government claims, unconvincingly, that it’s trying to keep the tunnels closed, while evidence at the other end (filmed by France24’s English newscast) shows Gazans’ using the tunnels routinely to smuggle in market goods and even electricity generation. Hamas undoubtedly also uses them for less homey shipments, like weaponry.

Israel’s been unable to police the tunnels since its pullout from Gaza, so the Shin Bet security agency gets its intelligence from Palestinian informants in Rafah, the border town. Unfortunately, according to an article in Haaretz, Shin Bet is willing to abuse its role at Gaza’s border with Israel to coerce possibly innocent Gazans into enlisting as spies.

Continue reading