Coalition chairman calls Shin Bet officials who warned against metal detectors 'cowards'

Likud MK David Bitan's harsh comments joined those of his fellow party member, Culture Minister Miri Regev, who has said the Shin Bet was a "delusional" organization.
Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90/Channel 2 News

Coalition chairman MK David Bitan on Thursday attacked the Shin Bet officials who had warned against the installation of metal detectors on Temple Mount, accurately predicting the violent conflicts that followed. "They are cowards," Bitan said in a radio interview, "who just want to go back home in peace."

"I don't recall a single incident in which they (the Shin Bet) didn't say there would be an escalation of violence," Bitan said, joining his fellow Likud member, Culture Minister Miri Regev, who called the Shin Bet a "delusional" organization.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office later issued a statement rejecting Bitan's comments and backing the Shin Bet. "The Shin Bet is one of the best intelligence organizations in the world, and it is successfully leading our battle against terrorism," it said.

"The Shin Bet's positions, which were presented to the government, were based on intelligence, assessments and a strategic analysis of the various fronts," the statement said. "Many Israeli lives have been saved thanks to its foiling activities in recent years."

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