More than 1000 Israelis protested outside the home of Shabak (Shin Bet) chief Yoram Cohen in Ramot, Jerusalem. They are protesting against the ongoing administrative detentions and torture of the “Hilltop” minors, according to a TPS report.
The Shabak is Israel’s secretive internal security agency, the “Hilltop” youth are teenagers, many of them high school dropouts, who move to empty hilltops in Judea and Samaria and try to build new homes and communities there, and the “Jewish Unit” is a unit within the Shabak that is tasked with finding Jewish terrorists, whether they exist or not.
The detained youths were not allowed to meet with their families or lawyers for 3 weeks.
After some of the detained minors were finally allowed to meet with their lawyers last week, and the torture techniques being used on the teenagers became public knowledge, a groundswell against the Shabak’s “Jewish Unit” tactics has begun to develop.
The Shabak’s “Jewish Unit” suspects that some of the “hilltop youth” may have been involved in the Duma arson that killed 3 Arabs in the Duma village, and they have rounded up all the teenagers and thrown them into the Shabak cellars where their lawyers report they have been tortured in order to draw out a confession.
Yet despite three weeks of torture, apparently none of the minors have admitted to having any connection to the Duma attack, and the Defense Minister says there is apparently no evidence either. Last week, Defense Minister Yaalon said they believe the Hilltop children did it, but they only lack the evidence to prove it.
Besides the administrative detentions of the teenagers, the Shabak keeps bringing other family members in for “questioning”, sometimes keeping them for hours, only to let them go right before Shabbat.
While arresting yet another minor at his parent’s home last week, the Shabak allegedly told the parents that he wouldn’t be seeing his T’fillin (religious articles) for a long time.
Police have also arrested 4 people who were on the way to the Saturday night protest. According to the Honenu legal organization they were subsequently released.
After most of the protesters left, a few dozen people tried to approach Cohen’s house.
Due to the reports of torture, Rabbi Dov Lior has given special permission for their lawyers to speak with the youths on Shabbat by cellphone, and even travel to where they’re being held, if needed, according to an INN report.
Even leftwing NGOs are beginning to speak out against the actions of the Shabak.
The Shabak released a statement last week claiming that all their actions are within the law.