Michael Dahan on Wed, 22 Jul 1998 09:37:42 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Israeli Arrested for posting on Internet

Jerusalem, 22 July, 1998

For the first time in Israeli net history, an Israeli has been arrested
for posting "classified" material on the web. 

Mike Eldar, a journalist and former commander of the Israeli Navy Seals,
holding the rank of Colonel, was arrested in his home yesterday following
the the posting of "classified" material on his web site
(http://come.to/mike.eldar.com/). He was released on bail yesterday
evening after his computer and related material were confiscated by the

Eldar had published his book "Dakar" in September 1997 after recieving OK
from the military censor. The book deals with the disappearance of the
Israeli submarine Dakar in the Mediterranean Sea en route to Israel in
1968, and which has yet to be found. The book went on sale in September
1997, and sold 1000 copies before the "Field Security Unit" of the Israeli
army and the "Government Publication Committee" (which is mandated to
approve publication of materials by former members of the public service),
stepped in and ordered that copies of the book be confiscated from
book stores, claiming that information contained in the book was based on
information he had received during his military service. Members of the
press, public libraries, and citizens in Israel have copies of the book
on their shelves, bought before the ban. Eldar noted at that time that he
could not possibly have compromised state security as the military censor
had already approved the publication and sale of the book. Since September
Eldar has been involved in court cases trying to get the book released for
distribution. Prior to this, Eldar had similar difficulty when publishing
his book "Shayetet 11", which deals with the Israeli Navy Seals Commando. 

Yesterday, Eldar became the first Israeli to be arrested in Israel for
violation of National Security for posting sections of his book on the

Before being released on bail, he had promised to remove all material
related to the book from his website. The judge who ordered him released
on bail, ordered the police to return Eldar's computer and to provide him
with a new hard disk in place of the one being held by the police for
evidence. Eldar is facing charges of espionage and treason, charges
stemming from publication of his book "Dakar". Apparently, the document
which caused all the trouble is a document which appears in Eldar's book
and web site, prepared by General Israel Tal, relating to Israeli Navy
foul ups in the search for the submarine.

Following his release on bail, Eldar stated that "all those who saw the
document on the Internet know what a service to the public it was. I am
proud to have placed the document on the web".

The importance of this case is as a test case to see how the Israeli court
system deals with cases realted to national security, or at least what the
prosecution defines as national security, and the Internet. Until now, the
issue of the Internat and national security has not been dealt with by the
court system here.

Mike Dahan
Dept. of Political Science
Hebrew University. Jerusalem ISRAEL

The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common.
Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts
to fit their views ... which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to
be one of the facts that needs altering.
                -- Doctor Who, "Face of Evil"
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