Friday, December 18, 2020, 11:31 Yitzhar resident Neria Zarog made headlines when he refused to leave his home and his family after receiving an administrative distancing order. To express his unbreakable connection to his land and to passively resist the order, before policemen came to detain him, he chained himself to a large, bulky device in his home. The entire process of Zarog’s detention was recorded by cameras which were placed in his home without the knowledge of the police. The documentation shows that the policemen and the personnel from the fire fighting authority were brutal, caused Zarog pain and moreover injured him. After Zarog was removed from his home, he was detained and taken to the hospital. The following morning the Petah Tikva Magistrates Court rejected the police request to extend his remand and ordered him released to house arrest. See here for more details about this case and here for more cases about Neriya Zarog.
Currently, in the framework of amending Zarog’s indictment in the case being handled against him in the Petah Tikva Magistrates Court, the extent of the resources invested in detaining him has been revealed: at least 80 policemen, including officers, 21 police vehicles, and two helicopters. According to the prosecution, the cost of enforcing the order was 150,000 NIS, not including court costs and legal fees.
Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski, who is representing Neriya Zarog: “I have never seen anything like the detailing in the indictment of the cost of enforcing the order. This is an illogical and unacceptable practice. I have never encountered an indictment like this, not even concerning terrorists, in which the number of soldiers who participated in the chase or how many soldiers arrived at the scene of a terror attack is stated. Certainly there is nothing like this in indictments of criminal offenders charged with serious crimes. We have never heard of the police specifying how much the forensic analysis cost and what the salaries of the policemen who took a complaint are. This section [of the charges] is entirely persecution and selective enforcement, which furthermore proves that these are not regular criminal proceedings but rather harassment of Zarog by the authorities.
“This is an insane situation. Hundreds of thousands of shekels belonging to the public coffers are being wasted. The funds invested in the detention could have supported entire families for a long time. It seems that there are grounds for an investigative committee to examine who gave the orders and what the considerations for carrying out the detention were.”
In conclusion, Poleski wrote, “One must remember that this was a very unusual order instructing a young man to leave his home and his family. Merely serving the administrative order, and the anomalous detention of the youth involving a huge investment of funds from the public coffers, is selective enforcement, unacceptable and superfluous, which indicates a loss of proportionality on the part of the Israeli Police, who, purely out of ulterior and unacceptable considerations, wasted hundreds of thousands of shekels of public funds. The funds come out of the pockets of all of us, and for what? To distance a young father from his home. The unacceptable use of administrative orders must be stopped, and Zarog’s indictment must be canceled.”
Honenu: “The policy of the Israeli Police to devote extensive resources to enforcing administrative orders and minor restrictions against youths involved with establishing hilltops in the Land of Israel is scandalous in and of itself, but when the absurdity reaches levels such as this, all the more so. In an unprecedented step, the State of Israel is demanding that Neriya Zarog be obligated to pay the outrageous sum which was invested in his showcase detention. This has never been done with any defendant, not with a terrorist, not with a rapist, and not with a drug dealer.
“The time has come for the relevant cabinet minister to examine who is ordering the police to take millions of shekels from our pockets for pursuing youths, innocent youths, who are building communities in Israel for the benefit of all of us. At whose expense and at the expense of what are the funds being allocated? Who determined this set of priorities?”