Making Mountains Out Of Mole Hills

The media likes to blow things out of proportion for a good story, even more so when that story fits their anti-Israel agenda.

Since yesterday morning, every Israeli, and some non-Israeli sites, have been publishing the following story that appeared in  Yediot Aharonot: 3 Druze soldiers were denied entry to the Dimona nuclear reactor because Israel is racist.

Well, maybe not those exact words, but that’s the gist of things.

The first headline by Haaretz, now changed, makes it clear they see it as racism:

The headline now reads:

Druze soldiers detained at entrance to Dimona nuclear facility during drill.

Stock photo of the Dimona reactor not connected in anyway to the story being reported, but since when did we care about factual reporting?

Stock photo of the Dimona reactor not connected in anyway to the story being reported, but since when did we care about factual reporting?

Research center’s security singled out three Druze soldiers for additional scrutiny while their fellow soldiers were allowed in.

Druze soldiers serving in the Israeli military were detained at the front entrance to the nuclear reactor in Dimona, while their fellow soldiers were allowed to enter and participate in a military drill that took place at the facility, they were eventually let in.

The incident took place about a month ago when the Nuclear Research Center Negev held a joint training exercise with the Israel Defence Forces’ Home Front Command. A bus unloaded a group of soldiers serving in the Israel Air Force at the reactor’s front gate. The group included three Druze – an officer and two soldiers – which singled out for special scrutiny before being let in to the facility.

The incident report appeared in Yedioth Ahronoth Friday morning. In it one IDF commander, who apparently spoke with the security guards at the front gate, is quoted as saying “The NRCN security guard stated ‘We have to authorize your entry; at present, you are cannot enter along with the others.’”

Following the NRCN’s examination of the incident, the security team at the entrance to the facility said that the soldiers were asked to exit the bus at the entrance to the reactor “like any other visitor” and that the team, who operated in accordance with protocol, verified whether the soldiers had been issued authorizations to enter the facility. The NRCN stated that, in the end, the soldiers were allowed to enter the site after a delay, which, according to the NRCN, was not long. The NRCN emphasized that “this is one of Israel’s most sensitive facilities, if not its most sensitive.”

Through the office of the spokesperson of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission, the NRCN noted that the “Nuclear Research Center Negev is a sensitive classified workplace and entrance to the facility requires prior coordination and a prior issuing of authorization to enter the site. All those entering the NRCN undergo a security check before being issued authorization to enter and are verified through various security means employed at the front gate. That is what happened in this case. After a security check, which was found to be in order, the persons in question were authorized to enter.”

The IDF spokesman said in response: “The security in the facility is run by a private company. In the particular incident soldiers were detained in accordance with the place’s guidelines. The incident was studied by the IDF in order to avoid similar incidents in the future.”

Get it? Haaretz have no problem outright lying when the say they were detained. The were merely not allowed to enter until the security clearances arrived 30 minutes later.

Even the Times of Israel jumped the shark (no relation), though it chose a more fitting – less anti-Israel – term to describe the bureaucratic wait at the gate:

Three Israeli Air Force servicemen who arrived with their unit at the nuclear reactor in Dimona as part of a training exercise were asked to remain outside the facility — because they were Druze, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Friday.

Another stock photo of some Druze soldiers we found, never mind him and Herev Battalion are not connected to this story

Another stock photo of some Druze soldiers we found, never mind that he and Herev Battalion are not connected to this story

According to the report, a bus full of IAF personnel arrived at the Dimona site in recent weeks to take part in security training. The soldiers were asked to give their military IDs to the officer running the drill. One officer and two soldiers, all Druze, were denied entry to the facility while the remainder were let in.

Kuftan Halabi, chairman of an organization for the advancement of Druze soldiers, called on Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to “stop the fiasco” in the treatment of the Druze community. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) said that “more than any incident, it testifies to a lack of logic, insensitivity, stupidity and institutionalized racism.”

A recording provided to the paper gave a detailed account of the incident. “The guy [from the research center] said you needed to get clearance, and at the moment you can’t enter like the rest of them,” the commanding officer can be heard saying.

After half-an-hour waiting outside, the three were finally allowed into the facility to take part in the exercise — but at that point they opted to remain outside in protest of the discrimination against them. The security official who initially refused to let them in refused to speak with them face-to-face, the paper reported.

“It was a terrible feeling of humiliation,” one the soldiers said. “We felt like we were worth nothing. I wanted to get out of my uniform, throw it away and run home. I don’t understand why this happened to us. We are good enough to serve in the army, but they don’t trust us? In my village everyone serves in combat, and half remain as career soldiers. What, they don’t trust them either?”

A report of the incident was forwarded to senior IDF officials, and an investigation was launched into the soldiers’ claims.

“Security at the facility and inspection at its entrance is managed by a civilian company, which checked the soldiers in accordance with the regulations there,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said. “The incident will be investigated by the IDF and will yield lessons for preventing the recurrence of similar incidents in the future.”

The nuclear research facility told the paper in response that entry to the site requires prior coordination and approval and that “anyone who enters the Nuclear Research Center passes a security check at the gate, as in this case. After performing the check, which found everything in order, the soldiers were permitted entry.”

The Israeli media is heavily publicizing this event, partly due to the location. The Dimona facility is like our very own Area 51, and anything and everything goes. Did the soldiers even access the facility itself? No. There are 3 security rings around the reactor, with the outer two being empty desert. The army drill took place there, not inside the facility itself.

But that doesn’t matter, the oppressed minority is oppressed, and the big bad security official doing his job is a product of “institutional racism”, as Bujhi said it.

While the details reported are somewhat worrisome, it’s important to note that high-tech Israel still relies on faxes, 18-year-old girls, and bureaucratic hell to pass all those security clearances along. It’s a miracle these things don’t happen more often than they do now.

But the over-the-top pushing of this story is just your run of the mill “Israel bad, let’s bash it” narrative spearheaded by Haaretz. The way it’s reported in Haaretz – as if they were arrested for being Druze, while they were merely prevented from entering due to security clearance – is telling. Stupid Israeli politicians joining in when they too only heard about it in the morning’s paper, doesn’t help ending it with a logic and sense.

Disclosure: I too have been prevented access to information and facilities due to erroneous bureaucracy on multiple occasions, at times even waiting for several hours until the long awaited fax arrived. One time, I was called in for reserve duty for a drill at short notice and drove half way across the country, only to be denied entry because someone forgot to fax/call/let the other base know I was coming over.

So my personal experience tells me that so long as the army, the INS – those in charge of security clearances, and private/state confidential facilities still use 80’s technology to work out security clearance issues, such cases are bound to repeat.


Judge Dan

Dan Smith has been exposing anti-Israel fallacies since the first time he opened the world wide web on Netscape Navigator, sometime in the late 90's. His lack of formal journalistic, political and sociological education means he is still capable of objective, unbiased views and opinions. A judge of media, pundits and media pundits.