Jerusalem – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s staff have launched a barrage of criticism against Israeli Minister of Public Security Avi Dichter for making political-security statements and for his frequent tours along the southern border.
Mr. Olmert’s aides have complained to the Israeli media about the trips, saying that the internal security minister should “deal with the problems in his ministry and not run around on the borders.”
At Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Mr. Dichter criticized public apathy toward events in southern Israel. “[Over] 120,000 people went down into the shelters and nobody cares,” the minister said. Over the past several months, Mr. Dichter has criticized the government’s inaction toward the rocket attacks from Gaza and the equanimity with which the public accepts the phenomenon, and his criticism annoyed the prime minister’s associates.
Also, during the cabinet meeting, Mr. Dichter called for a meeting of the cabinet, the security cabinet or the ministers’ forum in order to discuss stopping the rocket fire. He faced down Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon when he criticized Mr. Ramon’s demand to continue to expand relief measures for the Palestinians. “Improving the Palestinians’ quality of life could lower the number of live Israelis,” Mr. Dichter said.
Israeli Intelligence Against ‘Security Relief Measures’ For Palestinians
Israeli Intelligence Services Director Yuval Diskin made it clear to the prime minister and his ministers what, in his opinion, their priorities should be with regard to the personal security of the state’s citizens. He voiced his opposition to the gestures and security relief measures to strengthen Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas and to expedite the negotiations with the PA, and mainly, to alleviate the U.S. pressure.
In 2007, Israeli intelligence took credit for stopping 94 percent of the suicide bombers who were at various stages of preparing for carrying out a terror attack. No terror attack against the Israeli home front succeeded that year.
‘New York Times’ Radio Station Versus Ad For Sderot
A radio station in New York owned by the New York Times has rejected an advertisement of the American Jewish Committee that was intended to raise awareness of the Gaza missile fire on Sderot. The advertisement, which was commissioned by one of the committee’s directors, David Harris, who also narrates it, describes the sirens and the rockets falling. The director of the radio station explained that he feared that the advertisement would cause panic among residents who didn’t understand what it was talking about.
“Fifteen seconds. Imagine you had fifteen seconds to find shelter from an incoming missile. Fifteen seconds to locate your children, help an elderly relative, assist a disabled person to find shelter,” begins the advertisement, which was intended for broadcast on WQXR. Later on, the narrator counts for the listeners the amount of time for finding shelter. “The sirens blast. Fifteen, fourteen, thirteen …”
This week, the radio station announced that it would not broadcast the advertisement. “In my judgment several elements of this spot are outside our bounds of acceptability,” said the radio station’s director, Tom Bartunek. “First, the opening line, ‘Imagine you had fifteen seconds to find shelter from an incoming missile,’ does not make clear that the potential target of the missile is not in our listening area,” he said, adding that he feared that the public might panic when the countdown was broadcast.
The claim that angered the American Jewish Committee was that the ad was not balanced. “The description of the missiles as arriving ‘day or night’ and ‘daily’ is also subject to challenge as being misleading, at least to the degree that reasonable people might be troubled by the absence of any acknowledgement of reciprocal Israeli military actions,” Mr. Bartunek wrote.
As Mr. Harris put it, “In other words, according to Mr. Bartunek’s logic, the only way to broadcast the plight of Sderot’s residents over the airwaves was to equate Israel’s right of self-defense with Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad’s right to strike Israel at will.”
David Bedein can be reached at Media@actcom.co.il. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008