After the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, he attracted criticism for failing to provide adequate security. Carmi Gillon is currently the mayor of the Jerusalem suburb Mevasseret Zion and vice-president of external relations for the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Gillon was born in Jerusalem into a well known family of lawyers who resided in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Rehavia. His grandfather, Gad Frumkin, was the only Jewish judge to serve at the Supreme Court of Palestine under the British Mandate and was also a member of the Hebrew University's Board of Governors from the 1930s until his death. His father, Colin Gillon, was a state attorney, and his mother Saada Gillon (née Frumkin) served as Deputy Attorney General.
He began his army service in the armored corps and was later transferred to the artillery corps. He was released from the army in 1971.
He graduated from the National Defense College. He has a B.A. in political science from the Hebrew University where he was recruited into the Israeli Security Agency and an M.A. in public policy from the University of Haifa. He is also a graduate of the advanced management program at the Harvard Business School, and completed management training at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Service in Shabak
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1972 - recruited to the ISA and worked as a bodyguard in the field as well as in senior headquarter positions. 1982 – served as head of the Jewish Department in the ISA 1987 - left his position in order to begin studies in the National Security College. He served in a number of senior positions during study for an MA in political science and public administration. 1989 - served as head of the Training Division 1990 - served as head of the Northern Command in the ISA, a position in which he was responsible for ISA activity in Lebanon. 1993 - appointed head of the Administrative Division, and was responsible for HR, finances and logistics. 1994 -appointed proxy ISA Director during the four months of Yaakov Peri’s academic leave.
Gillon headed Shabak, Israel's General Security Service, from 1994 to 1996. Gillon joined Shabak in 1988, and became overall head of the service from March 1995 to February 1996. B'Tselem, Human Rights Watch, and other human rights organizations have criticized his oversight. "During his tenure, and until the Israel High Court of Justice ruled against such methods in 1999, GSS interrogators were officially sanctioned to use 'moderate physical pressure' on detainees (the vast majority of them Palestinians)," according to Amnesty International. From October 1994, when a suicide bomb killed 23 people, they were allowed to use "increased physical pressure". Secret government guidelines set down what "moderate physical pressure" and "increased physical pressure" allowed; according to court testimonies of GSS members themselves, this included subjecting detainees to sleep deprivation, prolonged shackling in painful positions, hooding with filthy sacks, being forced to squat like a frog (gambaz) and violent shaking (tiltul). During Carmi Gillon's period of service with the GSS such methods of interrogation were used against several hundred Palestinian detainees every year, many of whom were later released without charge.
Ambassador to Denmark
Between 2001 and 2003, he served as the Israeli ambassador to Denmark. When he was nominated for the position in 2001, Human Rights Watch called for the Danish government to reject his appointment and for Israel to withdraw his nomination, while Amnesty International asked the Danes to investigate him for torture, and if there was enough evidence for a prosecution, to detain him under the UN Convention against Torture, and to either try him or extradite him to a state willing to try him. Danish Justice Minister Frank Jensen initially said that Gillon could be arrested and prosecuted under the terms of the Convention after he admitted using "moderate physical pressure" on Palestinian detainees, but later backed down, acknowledging that as an ambassador, Gillon was protected by diplomatic immunity.
Gillon defended the use of torture as a means of "self-defense against terrorism." He told Danish media that Israel might have to re-introduce "moderate physical pressure" when interrogating suspected Palestinian terrorists. "We banned this form of interrogation in Israel in 1999 because of the peace process. Unfortunately, it looks like we may have to start using it again," Gillon said. One member of parliament, Centre Democrat leader Peter Duetoft, called opposition to Gillon's appointment "hypocritical" because Yasser Arafat, "the biggest terrorist", had recently visited Denmark without there having been similar objections.
Politics and other activities
Over the years, Gillon has written several books and a range of articles on the subjects of foreign affairs and security. He has also been an active current affairs commentator in the electronic media in Israel and overseas.
Gillon is married with three children.
In 2012, Gillon featured in a documentary film, The Gatekeepers and discussed the main events of his tenure in the Shin Bet.
- Rabin Assassin Seeks Early Release, CBS News 30 October 2005
- Carmi Gillon
- Amnesty International calls on Denmark to fulfil its obligations under the UN Convention against Torture 14 August 2001, AI Index MDE 15/074/2001 - News Service Nr. 143
- Letter to Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mogens Lykketoft, Human Rights Watch 18 July 2001
- Sharon 'preparing war crimes defence', BBC News 26 July 2001
- Something rotten in Denmark, by Ellis Shuman, Israel Insider 26 July 2001