What We Know — and Don't Know — About Israel's Prisoner X2

Existence of Another Top-Secret Mossad Detainee Is Revealed

Second Secret: Israel was shocked to learn of Ben Zygier, the shadowy ‘Prisoner X,’ who allegedly committed suicide while being secretly imprisoned. Now it turns out there is a second detainee, dubbed Prisoner X2
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Second Secret: Israel was shocked to learn of Ben Zygier, the shadowy ‘Prisoner X,’ who allegedly committed suicide while being secretly imprisoned. Now it turns out there is a second detainee, dubbed Prisoner X2

By Yossi Melman

Published July 14, 2013, issue of July 19, 2013.
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The silenced Israeli media started digging into the Zygier case and Haaretz appealed to the courts to release all relevant documents. The state prosecutor and the security apparatus objected to the request but Blatman Karadei overruled them and earlier this month ordered the state to disclose most of the materials except those which would be considered as invading the late inmate’s privacy.

It is standard procedure in Israel that judicial deliberations and court decisions dealing with top security cases are censored before being released to the press. The responsibility lies with the relevant units in charge of information protection and security in the Israeli intelligence establishment. But in the new affair of prisoner X2 it did not happened. Someone failed to do it. Haaretz and other Israeli dailies noticed that incredibly sensitive paragraph revealing the existence of another top-secret prisoner in the police report and in the lawyers summary and hurried to publish it.

The Israeli security establishment is in a state of shock. One of their most guarded secrets has leaked out. And not only that. Avigdor Feldman, a top Israeli human rights lawyer and outspoken critic of the culture of secrecy nourished by the Israel government, was interviewed by a local radio station on July 9 and asked what he could say about the case. He answered that he would say very little but added that the case of Prisoner X2 is more shocking and severe than the case of Ben Zygier.

The security establishment went bananas. Some security officials suggested that Feldman has to be punished but eventually reason prevailed and he was only politely warned to shut his mouth. But it lasted less than 24 hours. The following day another Avigdor opened his mouth. This was Avigdor Liberman the former foreign minister and now the chairman of the prestigious foreign affairs and security committee of the Knesset. “It is indeed a serious case,” he said.

Surely the legal and security authorities can do very little when it comes to prominent public figures such as the two Avigdors. It is easier for them to go after journalists.

And still we do very little about Prisoner X2 and even if we know we are forbidden by the court and the military censorship, which censored this story as well, to publish it. So we wouldn’t be able to reveal the identity of Prisoner X2, who he worked for, and the nature of his crimes.

What we know and what we can write is that in Israel in some rare cases its own citizens are held in prison cells in solitary confinement without the public being informed, although they do enjoy full legal rights and are visited by their families.

This article was censored by Israel’s censorship authority.

Yossi Melman is an Israeli security and intelligence commentator and a senior contributor to The Tower website.


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