Israeli army might quit censoring

Since its inception, the censor has been a branch of Military Intelligence; today under the responsibility of Maj.-Gen. Amos Malka. According to Israel Radio, Malka is keen on downsizing the censor's personnel and getting it out of the IDF.

"The military censor does not gather intelligence from the field. It doesn't contribute to the field. I prefer to cut the intelligence auxiliaries and not the intelligence in the field," Malka was quoted as saying at a recent closed-door IDF forum on reorganization.

One of the options being examined is to put the censor under the responsibility of the Defense Ministry. But defense officials said bringing the censor to their ministry or any other ministry would expose it to politicization. The ministry reportedly opposes the idea.

Chief IDF Censor Brig.-Gen. Yitzhak Shani strongly opposes this decision. Shani was appointed to his post 22 years ago by the defense minister. Most of the people working in the censor's office are reservists or civilians working for the IDF. If a quarter of the staff is cut, it is unlikely the office could continue functioning as it does now.

Another idea is to transfer field security from the Intelligence branch to the newly forming Operations Branch. Military sources said Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Shaul Mofaz has proposed that the chief censor be a civilian, and the censor's office become a civilian body.