R. Eliyahu calls for release of Shimon HaTzadik detainees

Thursday, November 3, 2022, 8:22 The GSS detained two Jewish youths and did not allow them to meet with their attorneys for six days. Now that several details of their interrogation have been publicized, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, has called for their release: “The police are handling Arab rioters with kid gloves, but harassing Jews in Shimon HaTzadik.”

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu: “Not long ago, they burned 18 buses here in Tzfat. A bus is not a car – 18 buses is something terrible. Two weeks ago, two garbage trucks were burned, and in Galilee, they have burned buses a few times already, once in Kiryat Shemona, and in other places. Why has this not been stopped? Everyone knows where the arsonists are from – Tuba Zangria. It’s the Arab sector, but the police handle them with kid gloves – without the GSS, without detentions – and they continue to burn, and burn. People surrender and are forced to pay protection money.

“Where is the strong police? [Detaining] two youths in Shimon HaTzadik, while Arabs throw Molotov cocktails and nobody detains them. [They] throw rocks and nobody stops them, and they do terrible things. But with these two youths… Suddenly there’s no law, no judgment, and no judge. Someone has lost his mind. There has to be common sense. There are people who are going to destroy the State. And they’re the ones handled with kid gloves?

“The state comptroller has already determined that all of the rioters from the Lod riots came out clean. And whom do they pursue? They pursue the policemen, and they pursue the Jews. Something has gone wrong. There has to be common sense. The Jews must be released. They certainly shouldn’t be treated like the worst criminals. [I call this matter] to the attention of the police commissioner.”

Recently, two Jewish youths were detained by the GSS on suspicion of assisting Jewish residents of the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood in Jerusalem to defend their homes from a rioting Arab mob. The youths are being interrogated on suspicion of assault and other crimes. This week, the gag order on the case was lifted.

Both detainees were initially forbidden to meet with an attorney. Six days later, they met with Honenu Attorneys Adi Keidar, Nati Rom, and Avichai Hajbi. They told their attorneys that their rights were severely violated, they were harassed by female interrogators, sleep deprived, interrogated on Shabbat, prevented from praying, and more.

Honenu Attorney Nati Rom added, “The GSS and the police have lost it. The rights of the interrogatees were trampled by a draconian order that prevented the detainees from meeting with an attorney and by the aggressive interrogation during which they were harassed, deprived of sleep, and interrogated on Shabbat. The police tried to mislead the court by concealing critical details of the incident, including the injury of a 17-year-old Jewish youth by an Arab mob a matter of minutes before the incident. Unfortunately, the security forces are investing their efforts against the victims – the Jewish residents – and not against the enemy. I call on the security forces to wake up, act against the enemy, and stop the wave of terror.”

Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar: “The court rejected the incomprehensible request by the police for a gag order. The police do not want to reveal their conduct and that of the GSS regarding the detainees. The GSS should not have been involved in this case and the detainees should not have been prevented from meeting with an attorney. During the time that they could not meet with an attorney, the detainees were interrogated on Shabbat for many hours, deprived of sleep, and were not provided with sufficient food. The religious sensibilities of one of the detainees were intentionally violated when a female interrogator intentionally touched him several times. And it was all for nothing. One of the detainees will be released soon and the charges against another have not yet been specified.

“In the end, the Supreme Court itself accepted the claim by the defense that the discrimination here is problematic. Several minutes before the incident, there was another incident in which a Jewish youth was brutally attacked. The suspect of the attack was not interrogated by the GSS or the police and he was not prevented from meeting with an attorney.”

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