Israeli Prison Services forged document submitted to gov’t team probing jail break – report

Government commission of inquiry investigating Gilboa Prison break discovers inconsistencies in IPS document, believes it may have been forged.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Israeli Prison Services (IPS) gave a forged document to a government committee investigating a series of failures at the institution that led to the escape of six convicted terrorists from Gilboa Prison in September 2021, Israel Hayom reported on Sunday.

Shortly after the incident, which was widely considered a major embarrassment and the most significant security breach since the founding of the IPS, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett established a commission of inquiry to obtain answers.

According to the Israel Hayom report, members of the commission of inquiry moved on Sunday to summon Deputy Prisons Commissioner Moti Bitan to explain why the IPS had given them a document that appears to be fake.

The IPS document, titled “Reorganization – Intelligence Department – March 2021,” purportedly contains information about intelligence gathering efforts at the institution and lists its authors as Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence at Gilboa Prison Ofer Malka and fficer David Tataro.

However, the commission discovered that the report did not contain a reference number, which would verify its authenticity. The accuracy of the document’s content, as well as whether Malka and Tataro actually authored it, are now in question.

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“This information – if it is true – is extremely worrying, as the commission cannot possibly fulfill its purpose unless it is provided with reliable information,” wrote the head of the commission, retired Central District Judge Menachem Finkelstein.

“It is now vital to determine the series of events that led to the production of this document, and also to identify the actual author.”

In a statement, the IPS vehemently denied the allegation that it forged documents.

“The incident has been investigated and [the suspicions] refuted in their entirety,” the organization said, adding that it believes the document was simply a draft of a report, which was submitted in error.

The investigation into the incident has seen a number of high-level IPS officials called to testify in front of the committee, all of whom have shirked responsibility for the failure.

IPS Commissioner Kati Perry told the committee that she felt she was being used as a scapegoat for the breakout, charging that “the allegations against me are offensive and baseless.” Perry has repeatedly stated that the acting warden at the time of the escape, Freddy Ben Shitrit, is to blame.

In a dramatic outburst during a tough line of questioning, Ben Shitrit abruptly pivoted to an alleged “pimping” scandal, which he said took place at the institution before his tenure, sparking widespread public outrage.

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