Thursday, January 20, 2005

How not to build trust with Israel Arabs

My apologies for not posting for nearly a week. I've been busy trying to make progress with my Master's thesis.

I was struck by this Haaretz article earlier in the week about changes in the duties of the Shin Bet official in the Education Ministry who had been deputy chief of Arab education in the country.

I don't think you need to be a leftist to be troubled by the previous arrangement.

I understand that the Shin Bet has a job to do, but to have a security officer assigned to Arab education? Even if you believe the Shin Bet needs to keep an eye on Arab education in Israel, shouldn't it be done in a more secretive manner?

It's like we're telling the Arabs, "We don't give a damn what you think. We don't even need to conceal our intelligence operation. Your loyalty to the state is in doubt, so we're watching every move you make."

Can't the Shin Bet just recruit someone in the Education Ministry to help out? Isn't that what agencies like the Shin Bet and Mossad are good at?

In any case, this is just another reflection of Israel's ineffective policy vis-a-vis its Arab population, which is no way to build an environment of loyalty and trust.