Israel sets up team to silence activists and British Journalist
Israel is the size of New Jersey or Wales, a tiny country – Israeli authorities are facing a barrage of activism against corruption.
Citizens are fighting back against the judiciary, welfare, tax, banks, businesses and police, to name but a few. Disabled people are lying on the highways begging for an increase in benefits (not raised for 13 years). Whistleblowers are literally queuing up to give information of bribery in organisations and ministries. Political scandals are being revealed almost daily in the current situation.
Poverty is still rising and housing and food prices are astronomical. Grand corruption in the Tax Authority for example has exceeded the minimum benchmark discussed in the UN committees by TEN times.
One would imagine that at this time, a leader would come forward and admit that things are not all milk and honey in the country. But not so. Whilst it is legal to insult politicians and even each other, what is still taboo is to insult a public official. By definition, an insult is in the opinion of the public official. So, activists are hounded and harassed, arrested and even are imprisoned. Their reputations shattered, with little concern for why they began activism in the first place. Most activists are normative people who care for their country. Lawyers, managers, professionals etc.
It appears the authorities do not view them as such. They are pests, and even categorized as enemies of the State itself. They need to be eradicated or ‘dealt with’. Recent revelations on TV exposed that the Bank Union approached Israel’s 433 unit (equivalent to FBI), to demand that activists will be dealt with in any manner necessary. The leader of the activists against bank corruption, Barak Cohen, Adv, was made into a felon for an anti establishment song he was involved in.
The leader of the 13 year old fight against Grand Corruption in the Tax Authority, Shuki Mishol, (ex investigator who discovered the corruption), was thrown in prison on a 3 month sentence for just over $100 overpayment on his car insurance 11 years before as an act of revenge on him, which he had repaid at the time. The following video is a MUST see, having taken almost 2 years to get English subtitles, the very thing the system is afraid of.
So whilst ‘insults’ rage against politicians with no consequences (who are public officials too), the audacity of naming a corrupt Judge can bring down the wrath of system in unimaginable ways. And this is the arena where the most fear of activism and national activity has been revealed.
Worldwide, there is a growing concern about dismantling of families. Family and juvenile courts, combined with social workers and police have gained power over the ordinary parent in horrific ways. Children are separated from their fathers in random judgments, leaving the men with no legal recourse. In Israel, radical feminism has seeped into education and family laws. Men and women (not radical) have fought for over 20 years through committees and petitions to reform the laws which have left 10,000 men dead by suicide. Nothing has changed. In a TV documentary, whistleblowers from the Welfare Ministry (including the CEO) revealed that of the 10,750 children removed annually from their homes – at least 50% were taken for profits. Children are a business, said Professor Ester Herzog, on the programme. Physchiatrists said there was little chance of ever returning children to their homes. Especially as $5000 per month per child profits were given to private institutions, so not in their interests to return them.
When a father is removed from his child’s life, he then has to undergo assessments for ‘danger’, even if it has never featured in his life. The gender war is ugly, with 87% of claims being false against men. They are randomly interrogated or arrested, just on the word of an ex. Their life is destroyed almost from day 1. It is no surprise that they will do what they can to fight back. Nothing is more traumatic than the loss of one’s children. All reasonable efforts fell on deaf ears and two prominent activists took to the stage a couple of years ago. They were unorthodox, brash and wrote blogs in extreme ways. Their activism was perhaps not appropriate nor legitimate, but against constant violations of procedures and human rights, their method was to go on the attack. Their main struggle was for women who had lost their children, and they exposed social workers and judges regularly. Father’s groups such as Aleph ze Aba (with over 20,000 members) did not condone the methods they used, though they also performed protests.
The problem did not appear to be the protests themselves. It was the image being portrayed in English outside of Israel. Suffer in silence, don’t dare tell anyone outside. This was and still is the theme. The idea of news getting outside could mean the very State would be under threat. So, for years the fathers struggle was internal and in Hebrew. In 2011, a civil society was registered in the UN, and for the first time, the anguish of families and children was revealed in English. It stunned the committee in Geneva, who sent in a rapporteur to investigate. Sure enough, it was reported that freedom of the press was a worry, and Israel were also recommended to abolish a law giving children 6 and under automatically in divorce to the mother – an antiquated law not used worldwide. What the rapporteur didn’t know was that after his departure, the fathers who’d been interviewed were arrested, and declared ‘enemies of the State’ – including the civil society CCF (Coalition for Children and Families). Still under the illusion of being in a Democratic State, no one could have foreseen what the system would do.
The law was not revoked, and the desperate fathers tried new approaches. Faced with no legal remedies in Israel, lawsuits were raised in the USA, the only channel available to them. Reports continued to go into the various UN committees, and regular protests held in Israel. They faced a brick wall. Nothing they tried made a dent in the judicial corruption. Many leading lawyers joined to support changes in the family laws. More information came out on social of the almost daily suicides.
What was taboo and shame for men, had become an open secret due to social media and groups. The authorities could no longer cover up the corruption and injustice. But rather than dealing with the issues, a Committee was formed to denounce the facts as lies. In particular, the Committee worked on the civil society, claiming that not only the reports to the UN were lies, but that fathers were against the State itself.
It was deemed better to suffer the loss of their children than to speak out, seek help which would be a betrayal of the State of Israel. Suddenly citizens fighting for their rights have become enemies. There is no distinction between fighting the systematic abuse and love for the country.
However, instead of debating the urgent need for reforms, the system established mechanisms to protect itself in the most intensive way. The problems inherent in the welfare and family courts were brushed out of the major report. Rather, the entire focus was on the harm and risk to public officials in their own opinions. Whilst simultaneously claiming that insult was an objective offense, subject to flow chart analysis.
The interministerial team set up to handle dissidents is remarkable: (taken from report).
The team includes members from the Ministries of Welfare, Foreign Affairs, Health, Law, the State Attorney's Office - the departments for special functions and international roles, consultants in legislation (international law ), cyber and technology, the courts administration and the Israel Police. The team formulated methods of action and procedures through various contacts, as detailed below, collaborates closely with other relevant bodies such as the Civil Enforcement Department of the State Attorney's Office(prosecution), consultants in legislation criminal, the Tax Authority, the Corporate Authority, the Cyber Department of the State Attorney's Office, and more. Its activities are accompanied and guided by the Management of the Ministry of Justice.
In the report, it is claimed a small group of fathers (and sometimes mothers) are seemingly responsible for the need to spend millions of taxpayers money to silence them. In fact, the taxpayers are paying from their own pockets to be quashed.
There was no mention of the anguish of men who have fought inequality laws of extraordinary proportions; the thousands of men who have taken their lives. Nothing was said about Jewish men being penalized with child support payment requirements far exceeding their income.
The report omitted the facts in a TV documentary in which facts, figures and evidence was supplied regading 50% of children being unnecessarily taken from their homes.
The report preferred to concentrate on who is viewed as the real victims – the public officials themselves who are dealing with traumatized citizens broken by the system.
There was no mention of the desperation of parents, being tossed around in the system, who just want to hold their child, or that on many occasions the selection was random – some left at home, and some not. Nor was there a word written of the 'driven to poverty' parents who literally cannot afford the deposits in court to appeal. The committee meetings for years with dedicated lawyers who debate and campaign for changes – no acknowledgment.
Having pride in the enormous machine set up and satisfied that the more outspoken activists are now imprisoned over one year without trial and proven judicial violations against them , in which the witnesses to the offense of insults are not even attending the trial themselves, and defendants have been refused the right to discuss full contents of blogs with evidence of abuse. The team then turned on the few people who had both the bravery and recourse to go internationally for help. Denouncing these efforts as denigrating to the State and full of lies, they claim to work around the clock to defend with REAL facts, still claiming that now there are violent threats being made against them.
Their real facts do not include the thousands and thousands of videos on social media – those are being erased. The truth cannot be erased.
One has to wonder if there is a large team for each field of activism, or merely the one for all. If so, they will be working even harder given the amount of corruption leaking out.
One thing must be clear – the activists understand the difference between a System and the State of Israel. Therefore smearing and shaming them as anti Israel when they are fighting for their rights, is perhaps an insult too. They may be checking themselves which one of them are also public officials. Is this now an international blueprint for silencing activism?
To read the full report click here