Rabbis call on GSS to stop interrogation of GSS detainees

Thursday, November 3, 2022, 11:14 Dozens of leading rabbis in the national-religious sector signed a letter calling on the GSS to stop interrogating the Jewish youths who were detained on suspicion of attacking an Arab in the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood of Jerusalem and to transfer the interrogation to the police. The rabbis expressed their opposition to the treatment by the GSS of the youths: “We were shocked to hear that instead of handling the Arab rioters, the GSS chose to treat the [Jewish] youths like terrorists. Not only that, but they deprived them of the basic rights to which every individual is entitled during interrogation. For six days they were denied the basic right of meeting with an attorney. They were interrogated on the Holy Sabbath, and worse than that, they were harassed by female interrogators.”

The rabbi cited the attack of a Jew by an Arab shortly before the incident for which the Jewish youths were detained. The Arab suspect was interrogated by the police and then released to his home: “We demand that the terrible injustice, [the interrogations] lacking in decency and fairness be stopped. The investigation of the youths must be transferred from the Jewish Department of the GSS, which is suspected of using severe methods of torture, to a regular police interrogation. It is intolerable that an Arab who tried to murder a Jew in Shimon HaTzadik approximately one week previously was interrogated in a regular police interrogation and released to his home, whereas Jews receive treatment as if they were the enemy.”

Dozens of rabbis signed the letter, among them Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsberg, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi Eliyakim Levanon, and Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira.

To recap, 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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