‘‘The fact that all information about him was secluded from the public and the public didn’t know is something which the Israeli democracy failed to adapt,’’ Feldman said. ‘‘The fact that the issue was published and people know about it ... shows that people are not taking into consideration that we are not in the 50s.’’
Dan Yakir, the chief legal counsel of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said the prisoner’s rights do not appear to have been violated and he had adequate legal representation, but that ‘‘the authorities shot themselves in the foot here by insisting on such an unusual gag order.’’
He said that in the balance between the public’s right to know and national security, Israel has always leaned toward protecting security. ‘‘Without a doubt, the power is disproportionately on the side of the state and there is a fear that they can take advantage of this power,’’ Yakir said.
Amos Regev, the editor-in-chief of the Israel Hayom daily, which is closely allied to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said the government had handled the case properly.
‘‘Does the public’s right to know require us to set a spotlight on each action of an agent, spy or fighter, who endanger their lives so we can live in peace?’’ he asked. ‘‘The fact that he (Zygier) was arrested, and secretly, does not harm democracy. It is one of the instruments used by the democracy to protect itself.’’
But Zehava Galon, leader of the dovish opposition party, Meretz, said she hoped this episode would mark a turning point. Galon was one of three lawmakers who used their parliamentary immunity to speak about the issue on Tuesday, before the gag order was lifted.
‘‘The concept that everything must be subjugated before ‘security needs’ is unacceptable to me,’’ she said in an interview. ‘‘How is it that people can know about it there (in Australia) and they can’t know about it here?’’
‘‘I'm guessing that the next time the Mossad leaders ask for a gag order they will think twice about it.’’
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