Monday, January 20, 2020, 23:23 Three minors from the Shomron are suing the border police for violation of privacy, unlawful filming of an individual in a private place, slander, sexual harassment and negligence for an incident during which border policemen filmed them naked as they immersed in a spring frequently used as a mikveh (ritual bath) near Yitzhar. In their suit the minors demand 70,000 NIS each in compensation, sum total 210,000 NIS. Some time after the incident it became known that the border policeman had shared the video clips in the border police commanders’ WhatsApp group in order to verify the boys’ identities.
The incident occurred on June 7, 2018, when three boys, two 13-year-olds and one 12-and-a-half-year-old, went down to a spring just outside of Yitzhar. One of the boys brought his dog on a stretchy leash, which blocked the road leading to the site. A border police Jeep appeared behind the boys and the driver honked, signaling them to clear the passage. The boys pulled the dog towards them to open the road and ran to the spring.
The spring is hidden from public view, shielded by an opaque shade cloth and serves as a “private place in which it is possible to get undressed before immersing,” as stated in the suit, which was filed by Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado on behalf of the boys. The suit further states that, “The boys undressed and entered the spring to immerse themselves. Suddenly they noticed two border policemen who had come under the shade cloth shielding the spring and were filming them with their personal cell phones and an additional camera. The boys flattened themselves against the wall of the spring in order to hide from the cameras, and asked the policemen to leave and allow them to get dressed and speak to them outside of the spring.”
The policemen agreed to leave the area of the spring, and told the boys that they had “a minute” to get dressed and leave the area of the spring. However, the policemen returned quickly, after the boys had gotten out of the spring, but before they had finished getting dressed.
“The boys tried to hide their bodies and their faces with their hands and their towels, and asked the policemen to stop filming them naked. The policemen told the boys that they just wanted to film their faces. The entire conversation was conducted in front of the cameras recording the undressed minors.”
In the video clip which Yado obtained, the boys are heard pleading, “Why are you filming? No, we are naked! Could you leave? Wait, wait!” The policeman asked them, “Could you put on your underwear and I’ll film you?” The boys answered, “Yes. Leave, leave.”
Afterwards the policeman filmed them again, before they had gotten dressed. The boys hid and asked, “Why, but why?” The policeman answered, “I’m required.” The boys replied, “We’re naked. Come on, could you leave?”
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado: “The internal review authorities in the border police accepted the complaint that we filed at the time against the border policemen, but that is not enough. The border police must compensate the minors whose privacy and rights were violated, and issue new guidelines to the policemen who come into contact with the residents of Yitzhar.”