Detainees’ families to Chief Rabbis: “Help our sons keep Shabbat”

Friday, April 15, 2016, 9:35 On Thursday, April 14, the families of five ISA detainees turned to the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rishon L’Tzion Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, shlita, and Rabbi David Lau, shlita, in an urgent request that they ensure that their sons being interrogated by the ISA will be able to keep Shabbat. The request followed publication of a conversation between one of the detainees and his attorney earlier the same day. After not meeting with an attorney during 10 days of interrogation, Shenior Dana revealed to Honenu Attorney Aharon Roza that in addition to having their rights severely violated, being humiliated and subjected to violence, the detainees were denied the possibility to keep Shabbat.
Dana said that the detainees were interrogated all day long on Shabbat, for many hours loud music was played in the interrogation rooms, and the interrogators smoked in close proximity to the detainees. Several times Dana was offered a cigarette.
The families wrote a letter to the Chief Rabbis: “Honorable rabbis, at this time our sons are being interrogated by the Israeli Security Agency. Some of them have been detained for 10 days without meeting with an attorney, and without us being aware of their status. We are very concerned for their well-being, particularly since in recent months detainees in their situation were tortured under interrogation. We wish to inform the honored rabbis of what we became aware of today.
“One of the detainees, Shenior Dana, who has been detained for 10 days, was permitted to meet with an attorney today for the first time. The things which the attorney heard from him do not allow us rest. The remainder of the detainees have not been permitted to meet with an attorney. In addition to the violence, humiliation, and unreasonable pressure, the detainee Shenior Dana said that on the Shabbat he spent in the ISA facility he was interrogated throughout the entire Shabbat. The holy Shabbat was denigrated and trampled. During the interrogation music was played, he was offered cigarettes, and the interrogators smoked in close proximity to him, denigrating the holiness of Shabbat and violating it.”
In conclusion the families called on the Chief Rabbis to act on the matter and to ensure that their sons will be able to keep Shabbat. “We are ashamed and disgraced that in the State of the Jews, men of law denigrate the dignity of Shabbat, offend the sensibilities of a Jew who requests to keep Shabbat, and prevent him from observing the commandments of Shabbat according to Jewish law. These things, which shock anyone with a Jewish soul, cannot be allowed to occur in the State of the Jews. We request that the honored rabbis do all they can to ensure that our sons will be able to keep the upcoming holy Shabbat as required according to Jewish law.”
Honenu Attorney Aharon Roza responded to what he heard from one of the detainees: “Today, in a discussion I was permitted to have with the detainee Shenior Dana, after he had been barred from meeting with me for almost 10 days, I was horrified to hear that in the framework of the ISA investigation, and in the framework of interrogation methods which someone delusional thinks are legitimate, a religious man was taken for interrogation on Shabbat, a telephone playing extremely loud music was placed in front of his face, cigarettes were lit in front of him, and he was offered a smoke. There are no words to describe the goings-on other than embarrassment and disgrace.”
Four of the five detainees are still under an order prohibiting them from meeting with an attorney, and some of them have been for more than 10 days. The remand of all of the detainees was extended until Monday, April 18, at which time a deliberation is expected to take place on their case at the Petah Tikva Magistrate Court.
A similar situation occurred approximately two years ago. In May 2014, after being informed that youths had been forced to violate Shabbat while under interrogation, the father of an 18-year-old detainee held under severe conditions, including during interrogations, in the Kishon Detention Center wrote an urgent letter to the Chief Rabbis of Israel requesting that they intervene on behalf of his son.

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