Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 16:58 On the afternoon of Wednesday, March 25, dozens of policemen arrived at the Kumi Ori neighborhood in Yitzhar and attempted to prevent continued construction of the synagogue at the site. Five people were detained while continuing work on the synagogue. One of the detainees is suspected of violating a legal order.
After the detention, the policemen clashed with residents and youths who came to the site to protest in support of the detainees. The policemen threw shock grenades at the protesters and fired sponge bullets and tear gas grenades at them.
Among the detainees is a father of seven from Yitzhar. One of the other detainees in Meir Ettinger, a Yitzhar resident and well-known activist, who asked the policemen to detain him. After initially refusing to detain him, they did.
Ettinger: “They want to destroy the Land of Israel. They tried to disrupt construction in the Land of Israel. For twenty minutes they did not want to detain me. I asked to be detained. I did not resist. I am happy to be detained for being here in the Land of Israel. We will meet in court.”
Meir Ettinger detained, Kumi Ori; Video credit: Free use
Honenu Attorney Nati Rom, who is representing the detainees stated that, “The detainees are not suspected of any assault. They were detained on suspicion of violating a legal order. Their only fault is suspicion of building a synagogue. It is amazing to me the the Israel Police have found it correct during these difficult times to deal with trivialities, restrict movement, and violate human rights, especially when workers essential to the construction industry are involved. My clients were assaulted by policemen in the course of the detention and also the policemen did not carefully adhere to the rules set by the Ministry of Health according to the emergency ordinances set in light of the Corona virus outbreak.”
Shmuel (Zangi) Meidad, the director of Honenu: “Incredible. I have never seen anything like it. We have all been shaken and our hearts demand a change. The police came to destroy Jewish settlement in our Land, and did not see the need to follow the orders of the Ministry of Health. I pray that the Israeli Police will choose to fulfill the important and worthwhile tasks incumbent upon them, in accordance with the time and the situation, for the sake of all of us, and cast off the inappropriate functions.”
On Tuesday, March 24, border policemen arrived at the Kumi Ori neighborhood of Yitzhar and declared the area a closed military zone. The order which expired recently has been extended by approximately one month. The border policemen arrived at the area of the neighborhood synagogue and demanded that the residents and youths who were unloading a building supply truck and working in construction at the site leave. A disturbance ensued and policemen clashed with those present at the site.