With all due respect to the head of the Shin Bet: a retirement event at a cost of about one million shekels?
The retirement event of the retired head of the Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman, a usually modest man, cost close to a million shekels with luxury catering and a performance of Maimon songs. The problem: the retirement events of the Chief of Staff, Aviv Kochavi, will probably cost more.
With all the respect we owe to the senior members of the defense establishment, isn't that a bit excessive?
Tuesday, August 16, 2022, 2:45 p.m. Updated: 3:19 p.m.
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Appeared at the farewell event for the head of the Shin Bet. Shiri Maimon (Photo: Flash 90, Yossi Zamir)
Ten months ago, on October 13, 2021, several hundred of the country's top officials for generations gathered at the Shin Bet headquarters to say goodbye to the outgoing head of the Shin Bet, Nadav Argaman.
On the lawn in the secure compound were the president of the country, Yitzhak Herzog, the prime minister, Naftali Bennett, the head of the opposition Benjamin Netanyahu, ministers, members of the Knesset, senior officials of the security establishment, the head of the service for generations, the forum of the service headquarters, the families of the service victims and other guests.
The atmosphere was respectable, the event was sweet and went smoothly.
He might have passed under the radar, had it not been for a jarring incident that received headlines in the media the next morning: when Netanyahu went up to congratulate Argaman, and read the list of dignitaries and insultingly ignored the Prime Minister, Bennett, who had already accumulated a four-month tenure in his position, and sat across from him.
The audience did not remain indifferent and shouted at him "Excuse me, there is also a prime minister here".
The incoming head of the organization, Ronan Bar, did not ignore the incident and said in his speech, "Coalition, opposition, in the fortress of democracy, in the courtyard of the Shin Bet, there is no politics" and received thunderous applause.
And back to the artistic program: the status was noted in a well-attended event, a performance of Maimon's songs, Luxury catering and more.
There is no doubt that Argman, a man of many privileges, deserves a proper event after decades of service. Furthermore, the organization from which he retired only ten months ago, demonstrated very impressive abilities during the "Dawn" operation, so the patronage - both for him and for the head of the Shev "As the current one, it is not only rightful, but also essential.
And despite this, according to reports that reached Walla!, the price tag of his farewell party was close to one million shekels, an amount that shocked many in the Shin Bet corridors, who did not understand why so much money had to be spent from the public coffers, for one evening, as important as it was. "Where is the modesty?" asks the service worker. "What did they spend so much money on?".
Change of heads in the Shin Bet: Ronan Bar replaces Nadav Argaman
In the video: a role-changing ceremony in the Shin Bet (photo: Omer Miron/L.A.M., sound: Nir Sharaf/L.A.M.)
The response of the Shin Bet: "This has been the custom for over four decades"
The Shin Bet does not deny the facts, although they claim that the amount of one million shekels is "inaccurate". The organization also explains that the event held in honor of Argaman is no different from similar farewell events held for high-ranking officials in other security organizations, such as the Chief of Staff and the head of the Mossad.
Which raises the question, should the State of Israel disperse huge sums that could be used for more important purposes every time a senior official leaves?
"As is customary in the Shin Bet, as in other security organizations," the Shin Bet said in response, "a year ago there was a farewell event for the outgoing head of the service on the lawn at the Shin Bet headquarters.
This event takes place once every five years and this has been the custom for over four decades.
Here is a selection from the last few years:
In 2015, the Movement for the Quality of Government revealed that the event of parting with
Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
, would cost the taxpayers close to NIS 600,000.
Police Commissioner, RN Yochanan Danino
, close to NIS 400,000.
Later, in 2016, the event of the relatively modest retirement of the outgoing head of the Mossad, Tamir Pardo,
whose cost was estimated at NIS 230,000
, was favorably noted .
About two months ago, the newspaper "Haaretz" published that the outgoing Chief of Staff,
Major General Aviv Kochavi
, is investing "millions of shekels" in events surrounding the end of his position in the IDF.
It is clear that the days when it was possible to be satisfied with a commemoration around the fire to say goodbye to a senior security figure, have passed by again.
The problem is that over the years the budget for these events, which have become grandiose productions including performances, amplification and lighting expenses, quality catering, and more, increases by hundreds of thousands of shekels (at best).
The gratitude to which those who have devoted decades of their lives to the security of the State of Israel are entitled is certainly in order, the question is whether such huge productions have not become showpieces of the security elite, especially in days when Israeli citizens are required to tighten their belts.
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Former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett bids farewell to outgoing Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman. October 2021. Argaman is described by everyone as a modest man, but he is not the problem, just a symptom of farewell ceremonies with an inflated budget (Photo: Shin Bet)
The head of the Shin Bet