Former Israeli Security Officials: Recent Terror Attacks an Intelligence Failure, ‘Red Light to All Authorities’
Two attacks carried out in Israel over the past week by terrorists who identify with the Islamic State point to a major intelligence failure by the country’s security establishment and the need for a new strategy, former senior Israeli security officials told local media on Monday.
Four people were killed in a car-ramming and stabbing spree in Beersheba on Tuesday by an Israeli Arab who was previously imprisoned for supporting the Islamic State. On Sunday, a pair of Border Police officers were gunned down by two Israeli Arabs in a coordinated attack that the Islamic State subsequently claimed.
Adi Carmi, who previously served in Israel’s domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, said, “In the Hadera attack, there was an intelligence failure different from the lone wolf attack we saw in the Negev. We’re talking about two terrorists who obtained weapons, trained, and would have had to be organized. It seems that they fell under the radar.”
The convergence of criminal and nationalist elements in the Israeli Arab community should be a “red light to all authorities,” he added.
“The situation is deteriorating,” Carmi said. “We need to bring the moderate Israeli Arabs closer, but to have an iron hand against the criminal gangs in order to create an equation of deterrence.”
He called for a joint effort by Israel’s legislative, operational, and judicial authorities, saying, “There are places that perhaps have to be closed military zones, and we need to enter them in force — including with intelligence and the Shin Bet — in order to clean out the stables and settlements of the Negev and arrive at an orderly arrangement.”
Dr. Doron Matza, another former top Shin Bet official, said, “We see these attacks as a backlash by forces that don’t come from the pragmatic-economic camp, but from the ideological camp of the Middle East, which has not disappeared. They use the symbols of ISIS and go out against the utilitarian order.”
The first sign of this, he said, was the violence committed by the Arab sector during Israel’s conflict with Hamas in May 2021. “It also goes through the Bedouin anarchy and crime in the Arab sector,” he added.
The fact that the latest attack occurred during the “Negev Summit,” when Israeli, American, and Arab diplomats held an unprecedented meeting on Israeli soil, reveals “the effort by the same extremists to return us to division and violence between Jews and Arabs,” Matza continued.
“I think we gave in to the quiet a little bit,” he reflected. “We dozed off and lost our ability to use the tools that create deterrence.”
The Shin Bet, he added, “needs to be more involved in locating the radical Islamists who want to commit attacks in Israel and [dealing with] the presence of anarchy in the Negev.”