Former Shin Bet chief Carmi Gillon, has told students at the Holon Technological College that religious Zionist rabbis were to blame for the spate of nationalist 'Tag Mechir' (price tag) crimes.
The 'price tag' phenomenon refers to acts of vandalism and arson targeting Arab possessions, and, on occasion, Israeli security forces, in "revenge" for Arab attacks on Jews, or for measures taken by security forces against communities in Judea and Samaria. No Jewish Israeli has been indicted for the vandalism against Arab targets, although the police have announced arrests several times, only to free those arrested for lack of evidence. Some MK's have suggested that some of these acts are planted or the work of Arabs attempting to blacken the name of the political right.
Carmi Gillon, formerly an Ambassador to Denmark, served as Israel's Head of Internal Security (Shin Bet) from 1994 to 1996. He resigned after the Shin Bet was criticized for not preventing the 1995 assassination of then prime minister Yitzchak Rabin by Yigal Amir.
Since leaving the Shin Bet, Carmi has actively demonstrated his affiliation with Israel's leftist politicians, including serving as the Director General of the Peres Center for Peace.
Addressing the 'price tag' phenomenon, Gillon first told students that the attacks were doing great damage to Israel's image and interests.
"When you attack a church, it makes global headlines" Gillon said, asking "then are we so surprised by a rise in anti-Semitism?" linking it to the rise in global anti-Semitism as well. He added that Israel "did not have the luxury to think of itself as a people that could dwell alone."
"Economically, Israel cannot live alone" he said, "we are dependent on trade and support from European countries," making a reference to the current European Union's boycott against produce from Judea and Samaria which could also lead to Israel being frozen out of lucrative EU funding for research.
"Netanyahu knows, despite his statements, that he cannot act alone against Iran. No plane will set off from Tel Nof [military airport] without permission from the US. We are not alone," Gillon said.
The former Shin Bet chief's harshest words, were reserved for the rabbis he claimed stood behind the price tag crimes, inciting young students to act.
"We know the rabbis are behind these crimes," he said. They should be prosecuted." Gillon refused to list the names of the rabbis he was accusing of inciting the youths to commit the crimes, but added, "I expect the state prosecutor to find a way of pursuing the perpetrators of these crimes," he said were "threatening the quality of life of the country."
There has been no known statement by any rabbi condoning or encouraging price tag activities.
Referring to the problem that it is alleged that many of those involved are young teenagers, he charged: "If you don't have the tools to deal with them - then make them, and if it's too big of a challenge for police to handle - then create a separate unit to deal with it."
During his talk, Gillon addressed reasons for the resentment of some on the right, saying he saw the legitimate right to protest events such as the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, and to enter into dialogue and to disagree. He also noted the disappointment he said had been felt by many on the right, that former prime minister Ariel Sharon, once a resolute supporter of building Jewish communities, had turned his back on them - ordering the forced eviction of thousands of residents of Gush Katif and northern Samaria in 2005 that led to an increase in rocket attacks on southern Israel..