Border policemen filmed minors immersing in a spring

A spring near Yitzhar; Photo credit: Free use

The spring near Yitzhar; Photo credit: Free use

Sunday, June 10, 2018, 12:30 Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado filed a serious complaint against two border policemen who filmed three young minors immersing naked in a spring frequently used as a mikveh (ritual bath) near Yitzhar.
In the complaint Yado described the development of the incident: “The complainant is an approximately 12-year old boy who at the time of the incident was with two of his friends who are 13 years old. On 7.6.18 the complainant went down with his two above-mentioned friends from Yitzhar to immerse in a spring-mikveh located at the foot of a nearby hill. A border police Jeep that was standing about fifty meters behind the boys honked at them and afterwards the boys began to run towards the spring. The boys immersed completely naked in the spring, as is customary according to the Jewish laws of immersion, and simultaneously two border policemen started to film the boys with their personal cellphones.”
Yado noted that despite the requests from the boys to policemen to stop, they continued to film. “In response, the boys went to a shady place where the people immersing are accustomed to get undressed and dressed privately. However the policemen continued to film the boys. The boys asked the policemen to stop so that they could get dressed. The policemen agreed to allow the boys a short time to get organized and leave the site. However they returned a mere matter of seconds later and resumed filming the boys before they finished getting dressed.
“The boys covered themselves with their towels and again asked the policemen not to film them. At some point one of the policemen went to the police vehicle to bring a bigger camera. Additionally, the policemen began to question one of the boys about the status of his dog and the necessary licenses for him, and then threatened to call the Canine Unit to have the dog impounded.” wrote Yado in the complaint.
The complainant described the incident: “We went down to the spring, the mikveh. We went into the mikveh and we were in the middle of immersing naked. They started to film us naked. We told them to leave, and that they could could film us later. We’ll get dressed. They said, ‘Fine, in a minute, maybe less.’ They left, we were out of the spring, we were in the middle of drying off when they came back again. We saw them filming. They filmed us with their personal cellphones, and with another cellphone with one of those big cameras… for a long time, we were in the spring for some three minutes.”
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who is providing the boys with legal counsel, added “This was a serious incident. Unfortunately this was not a lone occurrence. It appears to be the outcome of hostile relations between the police and the residents. Particularly at this time, when there has been an intensive police presence in Yitzhar, the police must learn what their limits are. If there is no clear justification, then residents must not be harmed. The police must be be brought to justice for their serious acts. Also, the entire public and especially the security authorities must give thought to what causes two policemen to reason that in the course of fulfilling their duties in Yitzhar they must film minors in a mikveh.”

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