JERUSALEM (Sep. 10)
Avraham Shalom, the former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, may be given a lie detector test because his testimony in the case of two captured Arab bus-hijackers killed by security agents in 1984 and the subsequent cover-up conflicted with the testimony of Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Yitzhak Shamir, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.
Shamir, who was Prime Minister at the time of the incident, testified last month that he knew nothing of the cover-up. Shalom maintained, however, that whatever actions he took were with the full authority and permission of the political echelons. Shalom resigned as head of Shin Bet several months ago under the cloud of charges that he gave false testimony and suborned others to perjury during two quasi-official inquiries into the case. He and several top aides were pardoned by President Chaim Herzog without charges having been brought against them.
Meanwhile, Shin Bet legal advisors who confessed to coaching witnesses in the cover-up will remain in their jobs despite demands for their dismissal by Attorney General Yosef Harish.
That decision was made at a meeting Monday between Premier Shimon Peres, Shamir, Justice Minister Avraham Sharir, Harish and the outgoing and newly appointed heads of Shin Bet. It was based on the opinion of a “senior jurist” that the pardons granted the Shin Bet men, including the legal advisors, constituted total rehabilitation.
Although Harish accepted the solution as satisfactory to both sides, there were rumblings among State Attorneys over the affair. The latter have refused to cooperate with the Shin Bet legal advisors. The head of the Shin Bet’s legal department and his deputy eventually may resign, according to some observers, but not until spirits cool down.
The Prime Minister’s Office meanwhile refused to comment on a Jerusalem Post report Tuesday that Peres was questioned by police about when he first learned of the Shin Bet cover-up. According to Reuven Hazak, former deputy chief of Shin Bet, Peres was informed on October 29, 1985, but took no action until former Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir informed him on February 17, 1986 that he intended to prosecute the case.