For decades, Israel has prided itself as "the only democracy in the Middle East," says Judith Miller in the Daily Beast. But a court-imposed gag order has silenced the Israeli press on the case of a 23-year-old journalist under house arrest for "stealing" military documents and is raising questions about the country's commitment to openness. In this piece, former N.Y. Times reporter Miller speaks with insiders about the mysterious situation:
"You've probably never heard of Anat Kamm. Few people have. But for nearly four months, the 23-year-old Israeli journalist has been under house arrest in Tel Aviv for allegedly stealing and leaking secret Israeli defense ministry documents to a journalist from Ha'aretz, one of Israel’s leading dailies.
"Kamm would love to tell her side of the story, her friends and associates tell me. So would her lawyers. So, too, would Dov Alfon, the chief editor of Ha'aretz, a liberal paper, and Uri Blau, the reporter to whom Kamm allegedly leaked the documents she was said to have copied while she was completing her military service.
"But they cannot talk or write about the espionage case. In an extremely rare action, an Israeli court has ordered the Israeli media not to publish or broadcast a word about Kamm, the allegations against her, or the investigation that has led Blau, the Ha'aretz reporter involved, to flee to London. [...]
In a nation that prides itself on its vibrant discourse and a free press, this is stunning, depressing news."