International Narcotics Control Straregy Report -- Volume I: Drug and Chemical Report
Israel is not a significant producer or trafficking point for drugs. The Israeli National Police (INP), however, report that during 2005, the Israeli drug market continued to be characterized by high demand in nearly all sectors of society and a high availability of drugs including cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, hashish and LSD. The INP also reports a continuing demand for ecstasy in 2005, but a lower level of seizure compared with 2004. The amount of marijuana seized is less than half that in 2004, and there was a slight decrease in the amount of hashish seized. The INP reports that the amount of heroin seized has doubled since last year and that the level of demand is unchanged. The quantity of LSD seized in 2005 is considerably less then the previous years. Widespread use of ecstasy by Israeli youths is a continuing source of concern for authorities. There was a decrease from last year in the number of arrests for drug use, and possession, not for personal use, but arrests for trafficking have increased. The number of drug arrests for 2005 was 3,640 (Note: All 2005 data are for the period January through October and were obtained from the Research Department of the Israeli Police Headquarters, unless otherwise indicated.) Israel is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention.
II. Status of Country
Israel is not a major producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals. Israeli narcotics traffickers operating outside of Israel continue to be deeply involved in the international ecstasy trade. The INP reports that during 2005, the Israeli drug market was characterized by a high demand in nearly all sectors of society and a high availability of drugs including cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, hashish and LSD. The INP estimates the annual demand of the Israeli market to be 100 tons of marijuana, 20 tons of hashish, 20 million tablets of ecstasy, 4 tons of heroin, 3 tons of cocaine, and hundreds of thousands of LSD blotters. Officials are also concerned with the widespread use of ecstasy and cannabis among Israeli youth, and say that drug use among youth mirrors trends in the West. The INP indicates that most of the hashish in Israel now comes from Afghanistan and Morocco, which have replaced Lebanon as the major source. Another source of concern for law enforcement authorities is the synthetic drug Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), and its analogues, Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL), and Butanediol (BD), better known as Date-Rape Drugs. This class of drugs has been outlawed in Israel since 2004.
III. Country Actions Against Drugs in 2005
Policy initiatives. In 2005, the INP continued its general policy of interdiction at Israel's borders and points of entry because the biggest quantities of drugs cross into Israel from Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon. Together with the Israeli Anti-Drug Authority (IADA), the INP concentrated specifically on the Jordanian and Egyptian borders, where the majority of heroin, cocaine, and cannabis entered Israel. The INP and the IADA have jointly developed programs to help Israeli youth, especially in the Arab community, where there has been a marked increase in use of illegal drugs and drug-related violence since 2004. Both organizations continue to identify and investigate several major families involved in the drug trade in Israel. In 2005, the INP combined its investigations and intelligence units into one branch called the Special Operations Division (SOD).
Law Enforcement Efforts. INP reported a high demand for cocaine and a total of 158 kilograms seized in 2005, a figure almost six times that of 2004. Other reported seizures for 2005 are as follows: 7,000 kilograms of marijuana; 730 kilograms. of hashish; 200,000 ecstasy tablets; 140 kilograms of heroin; and 1,866 LSD blotters. There was a slight change from last year in the number of arrests reported by the INP. In 2005, the INP reported 15,427 arrests for drug use, 3,047 for drug trafficking, and 5,233 for drug possession not for personal use. Israel destroyed 686 illicit labs in 2005, compared with 528 in 2004. The figure for drug arrests in 2004 was 4,340, dropping to 3,640 in 2005. In 2005, there were several high profile drug cases. In one instance, the INP arrested seven members of an ecstasy ring involved in smuggling 90,000 pills from Europe, and the seizure of 30 kilograms of pure heroin at a border crossing between Israel and Jordan, estimated at NIS 3.5 million ($777,777). In total there were 24,393 felony cases related to the narcotics crimes.
Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Israel does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of drugs or substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Israel does not have specific legislation for public corruption related to narcotics, but vigorously enforces its general laws against malfeasance in government.
Agreements and Treaties. In June 2002, Israel ratified the 1988 UN Drug Convention after passing all the necessary laws to make Israeli laws consistent with the Convention. Israel is a party to the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol. A customs mutual assistance agreement, an extradition treaty and a mutual legal assistance treaty are in force between Israel and the U.S. Israel signed the UN Convention against Transnational Crime and it is in the process of passing the necessary changes to Israeli law required for ratification. Israel has signed, but has not yet ratified the UN Convention against Corruption.
Cultivation/Production. There is negligible cultivation and production of illicit drugs in Israel.
Drug Flow/Transit. Israel is not a significant transit country, although Israeli citizens have been part of international drug trafficking networks in source, transit, and distribution countries. Israeli citizens abroad in locations such as France, Spain, Germany, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium serve as brokers and transporters of ecstasy to the U.S. and elsewhere. Israeli officials are particularly concerned about drugs being smuggled into Israel from neighboring countries Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. Israel also works with Germany and Holland to interdict the flow of ecstasy—with Turkey to interdict the flow the heroin and with South American countries to interdict the flow of cocaine.
Demand Reduction. A number of both public and private entities are working to reduce the demand for drugs through awareness and prevention programs. The Israeli Anti-Drug Authority (IADA) is one of the main governmental actors in this effort. Its mission, among other things, is to spearhead prevention efforts, initiate and develop educational services and public awareness, and treat and rehabilitate drug users. It coordinates with and directs the activities of a number of government ministries involved in reducing demand. The IADA also seeks to change the public opinion to counter increasing social acceptance of recreational drug use. Prevention programs target high-risk segments of the population like the Arab sector, as well as youths, students, backpackers, new immigrants, and others. The IADA offers workshops and lectures for immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia in their respective languages and tailored to their particular cultural needs. The IADA is working to reduce demand for narcotics among soldiers by providing officers with the skills to combat effectively the use of drugs within their units. There is an ongoing public awareness campaign aimed at parents and designed to focus their attention on their children's whereabouts and activities. The IADA also concentrates on human resources development, including the development of a professional infrastructure, and is establishing a unified standard for training purposes, including development of a curriculum for nurses, police, prison employees, physicians, and counselors, as well as other drug prevention, treatment, and enforcement professionals. The IADA also performs basic, epidemiological, and evaluative research in the narcotic drug field. The INP participates in demand reduction initiatives by lecturing at schools at all levels above 10 years of age and in the army about the impact of drugs on the body and mind.
IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs
Bilateral Cooperation. DEA officials characterize cooperation between the DEA and the INP as outstanding. All DEA investigations related to Israel are coordinated through the DEA Nicosia Country Office. The INP has liaison officers in Bangkok, Paris, The Hague, Bogotá, Berlin, Moscow, Ankara, and Washington, DC. Through these offices, there were several significant joint investigations conducted in 2005 leading to arrests of 36 Israelis abroad in 2005.
Road Ahead. The DEA regional office in Nicosia, Cyprus, looks forward to continued cooperation and coordination with its counterparts in the Israeli law enforcement community. The GOI is seeking to widen and build on relations with other countries and has created an office of International Relations within the IADA to pursue this objective.