Then, Israel’s Attorney General Was Thrown in Jail

The first to be arrested was Shai Nitzan. The police came to his home in Jerusalem at 5 A.M., accompanied by television crews, and spoke to him aggressively: “Come with us, Mr. Nitzan.”

“There must be some mistake,” the former state prosecutor said, in a well-known refrain from movies and TV series. “No,” the superintendent said, “you’re Shai Nitzan, ID number so and so? Then move it and get in the van.” And he locked the handcuff around the suspect’s right wrist.

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 58

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 58Haaretz

Channel 12 news opened with a live broadcast of the arrest, under the logo “Investigating the investigators.” “The state has regained control of the legal system,” anchorwoman Yonit Levi explained, with Justice Minister Amir Ohana, in his blue suit, smiling beside her. “We’ll hand over to you in a moment, Mr. Minister, but first, an update from the Russian Compound police station.”

At the station, a police officer read Nitzan his rights. “I’m about to charge you with sedition under Article 133 of the Penal Code,” he began. “I’m familiar with that article,” Nitzan said, swallowing a smile.

But there was no flicker of response in the chief investigator’s face. “Listen until the end,” he said drily. “You aren’t obligated to say anything, but anything you say will be recorded and may be used as evidence against you during your trial.”

Nitzan couldn’t believe this was happening to him. He had read about Stalin’s purges, but he had never thought he could himself be purged.

He of all people, the most loyal and security-conscious of them all, who represented the state in the most difficult cases, who was the first to justify infringements on human rights, is now being denounced as a traitor? It never occurred to him that he would see a detention cell from the inside, with the key in someone else’s hand.