Written by Rabbi Fishel Jacobs
Yesterday, news’ headlines were blasting. The Israeli Prison Service, IPS, fired the warden of Nafcha Prison, perhaps the nation’s most secure maximum security institute. That was a reaction to the startling discovery that numerous cell phones had been smuggled in to the hundreds of convicted Hamas and Jihad Islamic terrorists locked up there.
That is, indeed, a huge thing.
Cell phones smuggled into a max-security prison holding Islamic terrorists has mortal ramifications. Nafcha Prison is teeming with leaders of Hamas, Islamic Liberation Organization, Fatah, and Hezbollah. Many are serving multiple life sentences. Some know they will die in Israeli captivity. Others hope to be freed in future political swaps. Regardless, these leaders – who have proven themselves ‘in the field’ – are commanders in the eyes of their subordinates outside prison walls.
A huge percentage of attacks on innocent Israeli men, women, children and elderly outside the walls of the IPS, are ordered from inside those very walls.
To be clear, commanders inside the IPS use diverse methods to coordinate their organizations’ onslaught on Israeli society. One is smuggling handwritten notes with visiting family, attorneys or public figures to the outside world. Another is verbal directives through sympathetic interviewers.
There are infinite more.
A few years back, I published an OpEd titled: Israel Can’t Win A War While Abetting Her Enemies. At this time, as Israel reels under the present “knife” Intifada, the main points of that OpEd demand repeating.
For decades, on a daily basis Israel has been forced to defend itself from Islamic terror waged against its cities, schools, cafes, buses, homes, villages and, of course, innocent civilians. Israel is presently continuing to do so.
But, in order to do that Israel must also absolutely nullify any influence from Islamic leaders in its jails.
Fighting terror coming from Gaza or Ramallah isn’t enough.
You don’t kill a snake by attacking its tail. You kill a snake by cutting off its head.
Firing Colonel Shimon Bibas, may or may not be warranted. The mandatory investigative review will determine whether he was a knee jerk scapegoat or incompetent warden.
What is clear is that the IPS must take extreme methods to counter an extreme offensive.
According to the media today, decisions ascribed to the IPS include: “waging an all-out-war on contraband cell phones through technological means, undercover agents” and “We will continue to disrupt the intentions of prisoners and smuggling routes,” (according to IPS statements) is not enough.
Unfortunately, these statements are as useless as they were expected.
“Technological means, undercover agents etc.” are defensive techniques.
That is the standard Israeli government, de facto, response to onslaught. A fire explodes, extinguish it. The country is slandered, the spokesman responds.
Fights are not won by protecting yourself.
The IPS chain of command bears no blame for mirroring the faulty Israeli government’s defensive reactionary response to Islamic terror. It’s easy to put a band aid on a cut. Life goes on.
But, strategically, allowing incarcerated Islamic terrorists, even by default, to continue their leadership is national suicide.
Sometimes, as in hemophilia, band aids can be fatal.
The time has come for Israel to stop being different from all other nations. The time has come for Israel -at least in this instance – to copy how other modern industrial nations deal with convicted murderers and terrorists.
Here are some hard questions Israel must answer:
Do other countries, including the US, allow regular family visitation?
How is contact with legal representation conducted? With direct contact, or behind glass walls?
Are they really allowed TVs in every cell?
Are members of the exact same terrorist organizations intentionally bunked together?
Are they free to give media interviews, continuing to spread their opinions and inspiration?
Or, are men serving multiple life sentences, or even with one life sentence for brutal murders of women and children locked up 23 hours a day and told to shut up?!
These issues do not address the unanswered question of why Israel does not have capital punishment for men serving a dozen or more life sentences.
But, to realistically address the day to day challenges of nullifying incarcerated Islamic leadership on the outside legions of followers, there are innumerous questions Israel must answer.
Ultimately, Israel must realize that: You can never win a war while abetting your enemy.