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GSS harassment included veiled threats

Updated: Jun 20, 2022

General Security Service emblem
General Security Service emblem

Wednesday, July 1, 2020, 23:28 D., a Jerusalem yeshiva student, was surprised to receive a phone call from a GSS agent, who invited him to a meeting and used various tactics, including threats, in an unsuccessful attempt to convince him to agree to meet. The phone call took place in mid-June, and the caller initially presented himself as the official “in charge of the Temple Mount and the Old City [of Jerusalem]. That’s my job. Do you have about half an hour this week when we could meet, at some police station?” Later in the conversation the caller identified himself as “Banai”. According to D. the background for the call is a “Circling the Gates” walk that he took with a friend in the Old City a few weeks previously. When D. asked what the purpose of the meeting was, Banai replied, “To clarify a security issue which I see you’re connected to, and also to give you a little message. I think it’s less appropriate for a phone call.” Throughout the entire conversation Banai pushed for a formal meeting with D., repeatedly suggesting a meeting at a police station. Banai attempted to convince D. to agree to a meeting, including with veiled threats about the ramifications of the matter: “This isn’t an interrogation and you’re not accused of anything. It’s a half an hour about a security issue that’s important for me to tell you, before there are any consequences to this security issue. I don’t want to talk about it much over the phone.” D. answered: “You should be embarrassed by what you’re doing. You all live with the conception that there are people here who want to cause trouble. You’re wasting your time. If the State and the People of Israel are really important to you, find another job. The GSS could be a great authority if it dealt with the population that is actually causing damage to Israel. I don’t know how you all sleep at night when you persecute the wrong side.” Banai replied: “I’m less interested in hearing your suggestions. Right now I’m at a lull in my activities. You should take responsibility for your actions.” D. continued his claims: “You all are doing the wrong thing. I suggest, with all my heart, you should think again. You definitely receive orders.” Banai answered: “You’re not a child anymore. You should invest your energy in the right direction.” D. responded: “Public trust in you has dropped to less than zero, all because of your activities and how you behave. Take note of that, and quickly.” Banai replied, “Thanks,” and ended the conversation. Honenu: “The Jewish Department of the GSS has not stopped harassing and threatening innocent citizens. In the conversation, the GSS agent stressed that the man whom he called was not suspected of anything and despite that he threatened him with oblique threats. This is an unacceptable practice of grave importance. It is very unfortunate that publicly elected leaders, particularly the Prime Minister, who is directly responsible for the GSS, have not put an end to this repeated misconduct.”

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