Sometimes democratic countries suffer from immoral terrorism. And as a result, sometimes countries have to do immoral things to immoral people. Israel is a democratic country that suffers from immoral Arab terrorism.
Avraham Shalom Bendor, the former head (Ret.) of Israel General Security Services (Hebrew: Shin-Bet-Sherut Bitachon), from 1980-to-1986, was born July 7, 1928, in Vienna, First Austrian Republic; died on June 19, 2014, at the age of 85, in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel. Following his involvement in the ‘Line 300 affair’, he was forced to resign from his post.
Avraham Shalom Bendor was born to an assimilating family in Vienna. He was the only son of an industrialist father and a piano teacher mother. After the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany, Avraham Shalom was beaten by other students in the class, in the presence of the teacher, who did not intervene, and as a result he did not return to school. In addition, his father’s business was confiscated and then his family was evicted from their apartment. In August 1939 he immigrated with his family to the Land of Israel.
Avraham Shalom was a member of the “immigrants camps” youth movement in Tel Aviv and he also joined the Palmach training – the elite fighting force of the Haganah, the underground army of the Jewish Yishuv during the period of the British Mandate for Palestine – at Kibbutz Revivim. He studied until the 11th grade at Balfour Gymnasium.
In 1946 he enlisted in the Palmach and at first served in Kibbutz Yagor and Kibbutz Maoz Haim. During the War of Independence he was a soldier in the Yiftah Brigade, as part of which he fought against the men of Fawzi al-Qawuqji, the leading Arab nationalist military figure in the interwar period, in Kibbutz Mishmar HaEmek, in the Battles of Malkiah – A series of four battles that took place during the War of Independence. During the battles the Arab village of Malkiah, on the border of Lebanon, two of which had heavy Israeli casualties – and in the campaign on the Negev, Southern Israel, which was besieged by the Egyptian army.
Bendor Joined the Mossad and was nurtured by Isser Harel, a spymaster of Israel’s intelligence and the security services of Israel and a former Director of the Mossad. So far it’s about belonging to the political Left, yes? Zionist Leftists who fought for the Jewish state.
Line 300 Affair
On April 12, 1984, after terrorists took over an “Egged” bus, line 300, Avraham Shalom ordered the head of the operations division of the Shin Bet, Ehud Yatom, to kill the two captive terrorists who were captured during the IDF’s takeover of the bus, based on the principle that terrorists come out alive for kidnapping and bargaining attacks. Yatom complied with the order and the terrorists were beaten to death.
A few days later, Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Arens learned that the “Hadashot” newspaper had a photograph taken by Alex Liebek in which one of the terrorists was seen being led alive and fully conscious after being taken off the bus. The Minister ordered the appointment of an inspection committee headed by Major General Meir Zorea (“the Zorea Committee”).
The members of the Shin Bet who testified to the committee, gave, under Shalom Avraham’s order, guided testimony that the culprit of the murder was an IDF officer Yitzhak Mordechai who participated in the interrogation of the terrorists after they were taken off the bus.
The committee’s recommendations led to the disciplinary prosecution of Yatom for slapping one of the terrorists, and the disciplinary prosecution of Mordechai for hitting them with his gun. These proceedings ended in acquittal.
In October 1985, three senior members of the Shin Bet turned to Avraham Shalom, among them the deputy head of the Shin Bet Reuven Chazak, and demanded that Avraham Shalom resign from his position following the affair. Avraham Shalom refused and dismissed Chazak as his replacement. Following the aforementioned events, two camps were formed within the Shin Bet; one that supported the three senior officers and the other that supported Avraham Shalom and his associates.
According to Karmi Gilon, the former head of the Shin Bet, those close to Avraham Shalom exerted pressure on employees to support the head of the service. Gilon claimed that a senior member of the Shin Bet, close to Shalom, worked to sign a petition among the employees to support Avraham Shalom.
In February 1986, the three turned to Yitzhak Zamir, Israel’s Attorney General, and gave him the details of the affair as known to them. After an inquiry, Zamir demanded the dismissal of Avraham Shalom Bendor in exchange for not opening an investigation against him.
Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir, who were then the prime minister and his deputy, in the national unity government, supported Avraham Shalom and refused Zamir’s demand.
In May 1986, contrary to the position of the Prime Minister and his deputy, Yitzhak Zamir ordered an investigation to be opened against Avraham Shalom and his men, while claiming that he had the sole authority to order an investigation. Here we witness the legal dictatorship above the government’s decision.
Prime Ministers Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir led to the departure of Yitzhak Zamir from his position and the appointment of Yosef Harish in his place. However, the public uproar that ensued did not allow for a peaceful end to the affair.
Towards the end of June 1986, it was decided to end the affair with the resignation of Avraham Shalom Bendor and other Shin Bet members who were involved in the affair, while the President of the country, Chaim Herzog, granted amnesty to Avraham Shalom and three other Shin Bet members even before they were brought to justice. Bendor was replaced by Yossef Harmelin who returned to the service after heading it in the past.
In his amnesty request, Avra Shalom Bendor wrote that the elimination of the terrorists was done “with authority and permission.” According to him, he acted according to an order from Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir not to let terrorists get away alive from kidnapping and bargaining attacks. Bendor also claimed that he reported to Shamir about the elimination of the terrorists after the fact. Both claims were denied by Yitzhak Shamir.
The inspection committee of the prosecutor’s office, which included members Yossef Harish, Judith Karp, Edna Arbel and Yitzhak Eliasaf, found no support for Avraham Shalom’s words and even pointed out contradictions in his version. At the end of 1985 Shalom was tasked with smoothing the lines with the United States after the revelation of Jonathan Pollard’s espionage for Israel.
In the Line 300 Affair, in which the terrorists were eliminated after being captured alive, the one who was righteous and wanted to expose the case and investigate it to the end came precisely from Israel’s Right, from the Likud.
Reporter Interviews Avraham Shalom Bendor
From the following video clip interview text translation below, it is easy to understand the complicated role of the intelligence and Avraham Shalom Bendor’s wisdom.
Reporter: “Why did you give the order to kill them?”
Avraham Shalom (AS): “Because I did not want to see more living terrorists appearing in the court. It would have accelerated terror as it did.”
Reporter: “To kill the terrorists in case 300 was appropriate?”
AS: “According to the outcome, no!”
Reporter: “Only according to the outcome?”
AS: “Only according to the outcome.”
Reporter: “That means that if there was no reporter there at the time it would have been okay?”
AS: “Are you asking me if it was okay or you tell me?”
Reporter: “I am asking you.”
AS: “If he did not come, no one would have known about it?”
Reporter: “And what is the moral aspect of this case?”
AS: “There is no morality in terrorism. First seek morality in the terrorist.”
Reporter: “And if he raised his hands and surrendered or was captured alive?”
AS: “It is not a morality issue.”
Reporter: “So the problem of what it is?”
AS: “Generally tactical problem not strategic.”
Reporter: “That means that according to you the decision to kill the two terrorists … ”
AS: “You are always putting it black and white. There are decisions … ”
Reporter: “Two terrorists were captured and killed.”
AS: “But why do you cling to this?”
Reporter: “I’m trying to understand the morality of this matter. What you’re telling me is…
AS: “There is no morality in this matter. In the war on terror forget morality. In a bomb weighing a ton, forget morality. There is no morality. What, by you, what kind of morality there is? You are asking questions that in my opinion are immoral because they cause damage to the country.”
Reporter: “Why they cause damage to the country? Explain to me this statement that the questions I am asking cause damage to the country.”
AS: “You, when you list things that in your eyes are morally questionable, they are definitely harmful to the country, the answers … Also the questions because you need to answer this way (indirectly). I am not answering you directly, rather that way (indirect).”
Reporter: “Yes, I am paying attention.”
AS: “Okay, so stop asking questions.
The immoral terror continues, as described in the story “The Disenfranchised Jews of the Jewish State, Israel,” in which seven innocent people were killed by a single terrorist.
The left of the past, in general, was more “right” and much more decisive towards Israel’s enemies than today’s Likud’s Right Wing Coalition. The one who knew (unfortunately) how to hit Israel’s enemies with a decisive iron fist was not the Right.
Something in the attitude of the Feinschmeckery – fein (“fine, good”) + Schmecker (“taster”) Right must change, and fast.
If Israel does not get hold of and end the Arab terror infestation, I see a very bleak future for the Jewish state.
Terror must be handled with a heavy hand, lacking any and all morality and “human rights” excuses.