14 January 2009

Dept of Homeland Security, Israel style

Does Israel have a Department of Homeland Security? Does it have laws like the US PATRIOT Act? If not, it may soon follow the example of its joined-at-the-hip US cousin.

Conservative Israeli politicians are warning that Israeli Arabs now represent a "fifth column" that threatens the country's security.

Danny Ayalon from the party Israel Beiteinu is particularly alarmed at the stridency of opposition among Israeli Arabs to the war in Gaza. He accuses some of lacking sufficient loyalty to the Israeli state.

"Israel is a very small country, six million Jews, surrounded by 250 million Arabs. If they connect with Palestinians on the other side of the border, then we have a problem."

The Israeli Beiteinu Party was behind recent moves to ban some Arab politicians from standing for re-election to the country's parliament, the Knesset, on the grounds that they were not loyal citizens...

Meanwhile, Israeli police say they have brought "a number" of Israeli Arabs into police stations who have not committed any crimes, but just to warn them to stay within the law - a move one told me amounted to blatant intimidation.

The last, in particular, has a whiff of the kind of activities which took place immediately after 9-11; those round-ups of anyone who 'looked Arab'.

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