Shin Bet chief: Up to 200 Jews ‘actively awaiting’ PM’s death

20/07/2004 By Gideon Alon, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service and BPI-info The Shin Bet internal security service has a list of between 150 and 200 Jews who are “actively awaiting” the death of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, agency director Avi Dichter told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense on Tuesday morning. He did not clarify what he meant by “actively awaiting.” Dichter said most of these individuals live in West Bank settlements while a smaller number live in the Gaza Strip. He said some of those on the list are described as “hilltop youth,” young settlers who are extremist in their beliefs and actions.

Labor MK Haim Ramon asked Dichter: “If we were talking about Palestinians and not Jews, would you place these people in administrative detention?” “Absolutely,” Dichter replied. Likud MK Ehud Yatom, a member of the Knesset committee, a former senior Shin Bet official, told Army Radio he was wondering why the individuals on the agency’s list were not being detained and interrogated. “I don’t see any difference between Jewish terrorism and Palestinian terrorism,” Yatom said, adding the Shin Bet director must “immediately arrest and limit the free rights” of every Jewish suspect. Yatom said he took Dichter’s remarks very seriously but added that “an anonymous, lone Jewish assassin is more dangerous than a violent group that is recognized and being followed” by the authorities. MK Shaul Yahalom said he was deeply disturbed by the information Dichter presented and said the phenomenon must be combated. Yahalom said, however, the individuals must not be arrested. An a cabinet meeting held on July 4, Dichter said “the activities of Israel’s extreme right have escalated.” He cited a story about IDF Lieutenant Colonel Yakutiel Vizner, rabbi for the IDF Central Command, who was attacked in a Haredi neighborhood in northern Jerusalem by right-wing militants. Dichter said the attackers were infuriated over the consent given by Vizner to the demolition of the “Kahane College” on the West Bank. They blocked the rabbi’s path and cursed Vizner and his wife, and this continued until police arrived and dispersed the attackers. MK Ophir Pines-Paz (Labor) said early this month the attorney general should deal harshly with right-wing verbal incitement.