2009 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report United States Department of State ISRAEL

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1 2009 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report United States Department of State ISRAEL I. Summary Israel is not a significant producer or trafficking point for drugs, but its domestic market for illicit narcotics is characterized by high demand. Compared with 2007, the Israeli National Police (INP) reported a 40% rise in new illicit narcotics-related cases in This increase is likely the result of increased resources and improved efforts by the INP in interdicting illicit drugs and not from a substantial increase in the domestic drug market. Israel s porous border with Egypt in the south and lucrative smuggling routes through Lebanon in the north make the drug trade an attractive and profitable venture for Israelis and others. The Israeli National Police (INP) report high availability of marijuana, hashish, Ecstasy/MDMA, cocaine, heroin and LSD in the Israeli domestic market. The intense security presence and surveillance along Israel s borders generally make it difficult for smugglers to bring drugs into the country, but demand in the market guarantees a profitable return for those determined to take the risk. Israel is not a significant transit country for drugs, although authorities intercept heroin transiting Israel from Jordan to Egypt witnessed several large seizures of cocaine and other narcotics and an increase in resources to combat pharmaceutical crime. 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. In a 2008 study, the INP estimated annual domestic proceeds from the sale of illicit drugs to be approximately U.S. $1.5 billion. Officials are also concerned about the widespread use of Ecstasy and marijuana among Israeli youth, and say that juvenile usage mirrors trends in other Western countries. There is widespread concern about the abuse by minors of household items such as inhalants, and the availability of chemical analogs of banned substances not explicitly prohibited under the law. III. Country Actions against Drugs in 2008 Policy Initiatives. The INP continued its general policy of interdiction at Israel s borders and ports of entry. The police concentrate specifically on the Jordanian and Egyptian borders, where the majority of heroin, cocaine and marijuana enter Israel. Israel s Pharmaceutical Crime Unit (PCU) in the Ministry of Health added an additional pharmacist in 2008 who rotates through ports-of-entry to lend expertise to the Israeli customs service in interdicting illicit pharmaceuticals or precursor drugs. Due to the success of this program, the PCU has requested additional money from the 2009 budget for a third pharmacist. In an initiative similar to the DAWN program in the US, the GOI is working to establish a network to increase monitoring of drug abuse by compiling data gathered from hospitals. The Knesset, Israel s parliament, approved legislation allowing expanded testing measures of drivers who police suspect of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. New legislation allowing random saliva drug testing of professional commercial vehicle drivers is in its final

2 stages of approval. The Knesset is also considering legislation prohibiting the manufacture, import, display, possession, or sale of any drug-related paraphernalia. Additionally, 15 new synthetic drugs (ATS) were added to Israel s Dangerous Drugs Ordinance. Law Enforcement Efforts. In 2008, the INP established a new drug interdiction unit called Magen to patrol the Israeli-Jordanian border in the Dead Sea region. Increased drug enforcement and interdiction efforts led to increased amounts seized. The INP report that the main source of hashish has shifted from Jordan and Lebanon to Morocco and Afghanistan. Also, since the majority of Israel s Ecstasy or MDMA enters via sea, the police and customs units are paying greater attention to smuggling efforts at sea ports. The INP report about a 40% increase in the number of drug trafficking and smuggling cases for 2008 over Heroin and cocaine seizures increased dramatically in 2008, mostly due to large seizures that a few successful operations yielded. Building on changes in law that occurred in the last couple of years, in 2009 the INP and PCU plan to take aggressive measures against drug dealers that operate in Israel s kiosks, or small, 24-hour stands that sell tobacco and other convenience products throughout Israeli cities. Drug Seizures* Cocaine (kg) Heroin (kg) Marijuana (kg) , , ,000 Hashish (kg) , ,022 LSD (blotters)

3 2007 1, , ,880 MDMA (Ecstasy tablets) ,790 2 kg powder 2007** 891, , ,996 Opium (kg) Amphetamines 2008*** 88,885 tablets 2007**** 0.0(kg) 2006**** 8.7(kg) 2005**** 7.2(kg) *2008 data represents seizures from January through November. Source of data: Israel National Police, Research Department. ** Of the 891,300 Ecstasy tablets seized in 2007, 777,000 were seized from one container in the port of Haifa arriving from Europe. ***80,000 of this number were tablets of Captagon seized in the Dead Sea region. ****Seizures of Cathinone only. Availability of Cathinone diminished after it was banned under Israeli law, but authorities continue to pursue analogs of the drugs. Corruption. As a matter of government policy, Israel does not encourage or facilitate the illicit production or distribution of narcotic or psychotropic drugs or other controlled substances, or the laundering of proceeds from illegal drug transactions. Corruption is treated as a serious matter by the government. In 2008, a number of public officials, including the prime minister, were under investigation for corruption-related offenses. Israel has signed, but not ratified, the UN Convention against Corruption. Israel does not have specific legislation for public corruption related to narcotics, but narcotics-related corruption is covered under its generic anticorruption legislation. Agreements and Treaties. Israel is a party to the 1988 UN Drug Convention, the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol. A customs mutual assistance agreement and a mutual legal assistance treaty are also in force between Israel and the U.S. Israel ratified the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in December Israel has been a member of the

4 Commission on Narcotic Drugs in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) since Israel has signed but not yet ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. Israeli companies participate in UN operations Topaz and Purple to restrict the abuse of precursor chemical substances. Israel is one of 36 parties to the COE European Treaty on Extradition and has separate extradition treaties with several other countries, including the U.S. Under the umbrella of the UNODC, Israel has restarted bilateral cooperation with the Palestinian Authority on reducing demand and supply of narcotics. Israel also cooperates on a regular basis with the Anti- Narcotics Department in Jordan. This has resulted in increasingly effective control of the Israel- Jordan border area, as reflected in interdiction figures. In 2007, a new Protocol to the Convention on Extradition between the United States and Israel entered into force. Significantly updating the 1962 convention, the Protocol replaces the outdated list of extraditable offenses with a modern dual criminality approach and permits temporary surrender for trial in the requesting state of fugitives serving a prison sentence in the requested state. In combination with Israeli domestic extradition law, the Protocol also provides for service of a U.S. sentence in Israel for fugitives determined to be Israeli citizens and residents at the time of the commission of the offenses and allows limited inclusion of hearsay evidence in U.S. extradition documents. Israeli domestic statute of limitations in certain circumstances, however, may prohibit extradition of fugitives whose cases are more than ten years old. The application of Israel s statute of limitations now is being litigated before the Israel Supreme Court in an U.S. extradition request involving an alleged pedophile. In the 1980s, Israel refused to turn over the fugitive because, at that time, the 1962 convention and Israeli domestic law did not permit the extradition for the offenses charged. Once the treaty was amended by the Protocol, the case was re-filed in The Supreme Court is not expected to make a final ruling in the matter until sometime in The U.S. also has a mutual legal assistance treaty with Israel. Although this relationship is very active, in many cases Israel has been slow in executing U.S. requests. Cultivation/Production. The vast majority of drugs consumed in Israel are produced in other countries, though domestic cultivation of marijuana and hashish remains a small problem. From time to time, the police arrest clandestine farmers growing cannabis using hydroponic techniques. Though domestically produced analogs of Ecstasy/MDMA, dimethyl cathinone, and amphetamines were manufactured and available in many urban kiosks under a wide variety of ever-changing names, the PCU has plans to establish a program in the near future to counter this activity. Cathinone is extracted from the khat plant, which is legal in Israel and widely cultivated within Israel s Yemenite and Ethiopian immigrant communities. Together with the INP, the PCU recently broke up a large Ritalin counterfeiting ring. The government expects indictments in this case sometime in Drug Flow/Transit. The intense security presence and surveillance along Israel s borders generally makes it difficult for smugglers to bring drugs into the country, though domestic demand ensures that Israeli citizens continue to take part in international drug trafficking networks in source, transit and distribution countries. Israel is not a significant transit country for drugs. While smugglers prefer the more porous borders with Egypt and Jordan where security is

5 not as strong, Israeli military officials still report a sizeable incidence of smuggling in many of the Arab villages that straddle the Israeli-Lebanese border in the north drug interdiction data for Israel indicate that Egypt is the country s main source of marijuana, South America is the main source of cocaine, and MDMA enters primarily via sea data strongly support the trend that began in previous years in which Morocco and Afghanistan have replaced Lebanon and Jordan as the Israeli market s main source of hashish; the Egyptian border provides the primary point of entrance for the drugs. Israeli officials continue to see a trend in the use of Israel as a transit point for the flow of heroin from Jordan to Egypt. The Negev Bedouin tribes, using their knowledge of the desert terrain and their familial connections with Jordanian and Egyptian Bedouin, facilitate most of the heroin trafficking across Israel. The INP report that in 2008, 37 kg of heroin was seized on the Egyptian border, 115 kg on the Jordanian border, and 124 kg on the Lebanese boarder. The Israeli Bedouin trade the heroin in Egypt for cash, Moroccan hashish and marijuana, for which there is a large Israeli market. Domestic Programs/Demand Reduction. The Israel Anti-Drug Authority (IADA) is the primary agency responsible for designing and implementing domestic programs to reduce the demand for drugs. The IADA administers treatment programs targeted to special populations such as women, youth, new immigrants, homeless, co-morbidity patients and other specific segments of the population. Israel pursues a harm-reduction approach in conjunction with aggressive enforcement, offering counseling, sanitary services, food, and needle exchange at clinics distributed throughout the country. If addicts are willing, they are taken directly to treatment facilities, where drug use is curtailed and where patients have access to professional training and family therapy. Israel employs the use of commonly known drugs such as Subutexbuprenorphine, and Methadone in its treatment facilities and hospitals. The IADA worked with other agencies such as the Israel Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene on the needs of special populations. Needle exchange programs were implemented in several cities to reduce harm to homeless populations and other programs were developed specifically targeting prostitutes. Israel established therapeutic communities focusing on rehabilitation of patients, and in particular, vocational rehabilitation. The IADA began developing culturally sensitive prevention programs for the Ethiopian and former Soviet Union immigrant communities. The IADA participated in and/or helped to facilitate regional law enforcement workshops organized by the UN, attended joint meetings with Israeli and Palestinian law enforcement officers, and began building bridges with neighboring Jordan by means of research trips. In 2008, several training courses were developed and implemented with the key goal of enhancing and promoting human resource development in the field of alcohol and drugs. Two main groups targeted over the year, which have significant interaction and impact over youth, included medical personnel such as nurses, doctors and pediatricians, and new teachers and students of education. The IADA has outlined several objectives for They intend to expand awareness of drug abuse through development of comprehensive, multi-disciplinary alcohol prevention programs. The IADA also plans to focus its attention on the illicit sale of designer drugs and sale of alcohol to minors. The IADA continues to advocate for a new, updated antidrug law that would permit more immediate inclusion of dangerous substances into the

6 Dangerous Substances Ordinance. Officials would like to explore programs on rehabilitation of clean addicts, in particular vocational rehabilitation. Enhancing international activities with the European Community and UN organizations and intensifying professional relations with the Palestinian Authority remain goals within the Israeli anti-drug community. IV. U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs Bilateral Cooperation. Cooperation between Israeli and U.S. institutions dealing with illicit drugs is excellent. The DEA Country Office In Nicosia, Cyprus and Israeli officials characterize their cooperation as outstanding. The ITA also maintains direct cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Rome, and has conducted joint anti-smuggling operations. There is a monthly bilateral exchange on major drug seizures in both countries. The Pharmaceutical Crime Unit also works directly with the DEA and sent representatives to a DEAsponsored course on dual-use drug precursor diversion in June The PCU continues to provide intelligence in a precursor drug case of Israeli pseudoephedrine destined for an alleged methamphetamine lab in Africa. Road Ahead. Officials from both the Israeli and U.S. government wish to continue strengthening an already excellent partnership in the area of illicit drug enforcement, eradication, and rehabilitation efforts. The DEA Country Office in Nicosia, Cyprus will continue its cooperation and coordination with counterparts in the Israeli law enforcement community. The INP continues to strengthen relationships between law enforcement agencies in other countries, and works through the Office of International Relations within the IADA to pursue this objective. The IADA has begun to establish relationships with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the U.S.

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