Marred Reputation? What Cracked Israeli Security Agency’s Image & Undermined Public Trust

On 7 August 1986, Israel’s High Court ruled that the president had every right to pardon the head of the country’s security service along with several of his operatives, accused of executing Palestinian terrorists without a trial. While the ruling caused an uproar, an ex-judge says, the spy body learned from its mistakes and fixed its reputation.

It was a terrorist attack that shook israel.

In April 1984, four Palestinian terrorists boarded a packed bus en route from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon.

Several minutes later they hijacked it, and forced the driver to change his route making their way to the border with Egypt, where hostages were supposed to be kept until the Israeli authorities agreed to exchange them for a number of Palestinian prisoners.

But things didn’t go according to plan. After the IDF took control of the bus killing two of the terrorists, it also arrested the remaining attackers, an event that was heavily covered by the local media which showed them being taken alive by operatives from Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency.

Next morning, however, the IDF released a statement claiming the four terrorists were killed during the rescue operation, but after the military realised there were too many eyewitnesses who saw them alive, it rushed to impose censorship on the coverage of the event. The latter is a common practice in israel where the army can decide what items make it into the news cycle.

Shattered Reputation?

Although all major outlets adhered to the…

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