Israeli military chief says prisoner was to reveal secrets

Israeli military chief claims deceased intelligence detainee was preparing to reveal 'big secrets'
2 min read
09 June, 2021
A former military intelligence officer, who recently died in prison, was preparing to reveal big secrets, according to Israel's army chief.
Aviv Kochavi described the deceased as an 'excellent' intelligence officer [Getty]

Israel's army chief claimed that an intelligence officer who recently died in prison under mysterious circumstances was preparing to divulge "a big secret" before he was apprehended "at the last minute".

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi told the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya that the agent had "committed very serious offences", which he did "knowingly, on purpose, for reasons I can't describe".

The Israeli military intelligence officer was arrested in September and tried in secret by a military court, with his identity and the specifics of his offences not revealed. 

In mid-May, he was found in a serious condition at the detention facility where he was being held and then rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead. 

"On the night between 16 and 17 May, 2021, the officer was found at a military detention facility in the center of the country in serious medical condition. The officer was transferred for medical treatment to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His family was notified," said the military tribunal in a statement. 

At the hearing, Kochavi regretted the death of the officer, describing him as "an excellent officer" and calling for the death to be investigated. 

He also defended the secrecy that shrouded his arrest, identity, and crimes of the individual, claiming that it was needed "in order to safeguard his privacy and the privacy of his family… while guarding a big secret".

Family members have previously criticised the army's conduct of his case and accused them of failing to disclose information. 

Analysis
Live Story

"We don't know anything. No one has explained to us what happened. All the IDF's conduct seems like an attempt to hide their own failures. How could they try to erase a person like this?" one relative told Haaretz

The family members said that they had spoken to the former intelligence officer hours before his death, and noted that he did not sound distressed.

Officers who worked with him in the intelligence branch of the Israeli military told Haaretz that he was an idealistic and brilliant individual that succeeded in all the jobs and tasks he was given.