Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau visits a Talmud Torah in Bat Ayin (Gush Etzion) at the beginning of the school year.
Posts Tagged ‘Bat Ayin’
Police investigators descended on the Gush Etzion town of Bat Ayin Tuesday to arrest three brothers, the youngest of whom is 10 years old. The older brothers, aged 17 and 19 years old, said police beat their younger sibling during the arrest. “One investigator choked my brother while the others beat him mercilessly,” said one of the older brothers.
The three brothers were brought to the Gush Etzion police station where the commanding officer delivered a warning talk to youngest brother, who was then released because at the age of 10, he cannot be charged with a crime.
But according to Honenu, a legal aid organization that provides representation in Judea and Samaria the two older brothers remain in custody at this hour, and added that the detainees have not been told why they were taken into custody. A Honenu spokesman said the brothers were “shocked” to learn that police claimed they had thrown stones at the police car, and added that the brothers denied “out of hand” the police claim.
The incident followed a similar one in Bat Ayin yesterday, when a 12-year-old boy was detained after police said he prevented them from entering the community synagogue. He, too, was interrogated and released.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because he is a minor, said plainclothes General Security Service (GSS, or Shabak) officers interrogated him and threatened him.
“Two plainclothes guys came into the investigation room. One introduced himself as ‘Dan.’ He started threatening me and said he is watching me 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“He told me that his goal was to put me in jail for the rest of my life, and that he would hurt me and my family. I laughed, and he told me that the day would come when I would be held in a dark cell and that he would laugh at me. When I continued laughing he left the room,” the 17-year-old said.
Parents turn to Children’s Council
In addition to the Bat Ayin detainees, the family of a 16-year-old boy from Jerusalem have asked the Israel National Council for the Child for help in making contact with their son. They say GSS agents detained him six days ago and have taken the rare step of preventing him from meeting with a lawyer.
“Last Wednesday morning our son was walking down Hanivi’im Street in Jerusalem when he was accosted by two men in civilian clothes. They took him to an undisclosed location. From that moment, we haven’t heard from him or seen him, and we have no idea how he is,” the parents said. We understand that the GSS is interrogating our son under terms of a rarely-used legal clause which prohibits him from seeing a lawyer,” the family said in a statement released by Honenu.
If order to make contact with their son, the parents have asked Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, head of the Israel Council for the Child , to press GSS authorities on their behalf to obtain access to the prisoner.
“This is an opportunity for the Council to investigate the repeated violations committed against minors,” said attorney Adi Keidar, who represents the children. “Violations of the law continue unabated, and no one thinks of the long-term effects of extended periods of incarceration of minors in inhumane conditions in GSS lockups.
President of the Israel National Council for the Child, Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, was not immediately available for comment.
ACRI, Feiglin agree: Detentions recall “dark regimes”
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Betenu) said Tuesday that the detention of price tag suspects without evidence places israel alongside the world’s “darkest regimes.”
“The witch hunt against the tough price tag phenomenon has led to minors being held on suspicion of vandalism and prevented from seeing lawyers,” said MK Feiglin. “This is a very serious phenomenon that should make anyone who holds human rights dear.
“Arresting minors (and adults) for suspected vandalism and property damage and withholding their legal rights under the pretext of ‘the rule of law’ places Israel on the same level as some very dark regimes. I am certain that had the vandalism occurred on the other side of the political map the police would not have dared act this way.
Nirit Moskovitch, a spokeswoman for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said her organization has not acted on this case is that so many detainees in Israeli jails are prevented from meeting with legal counsel that ACRI cannot respond to each case individually.
“The reason this case has made headlines is the comparatively rare case that the individuals involved are Jews,” Moskovitch told The Jewish Press.
Moskovitch added that the organization is completely opposed to the practice of preventing prisoners from legal counsel, especially when the detainees are minors. She also said that ACRI has spoken out strongly against designating Price Tag attacks, offensive as they may be, as “terror” attacks.
“We will continue to call for a strong battle against these despicable hate crimes, which require determination and financial resources on the part of police. These measures need not stand in distinction to respect for the rights of suspects and those interrogated.
“Labelling price taggers as a ‘terror group’ could have serious consequences for the human rights of individuals suspected of these crimes,” Moskovitch said.
Upon waking up in the morning, no one thinks that bus loads of soldiers are going to come and destroy the home you worked so hard for. But this is what happened today in Bat Ayin.
Since I made aliyah with my family only about ten weeks ago, I don’t yet have the lexicon to describe what happened this morning. But this is probably a good thing. The fact that I have no basis to rationalize the destruction of six homes here by the government that is supposed to protect and preserve, seems as common sentiment here even among veteran residents.
The day started like any other with weekday prayer at the central synagogue. Then toward the end, someone mentioned that buses of soldiers and bulldozers were in Bat Ayin “Beit”, the long-standing extension to the original Bat Ayin. As I walked up the hill back home, there were groups of personnel standing and keeping watch on the residents.
As it turns out, the government came to destroy six homes that were not yet lived in (the owners were renting here while they built their “permanent” dwellings). Most likely in response to the pepper spray incident last week at the entry gate. In the episode last Thursday, it was reported that masked men sprayed pepper gas at soldiers guarding the entrance, and attacked an Arab delivery driver. While it is still unconfirmed whether these men came from Bat Ayin (and in general, the details of the event seem foggy according to residents here), what there is no doubt on was the response.
Being troubled by the news, we decided to walk down to Bat Ayin Beit to see the results for ourselves. That is where we took the picture above, one of the six home destroyed in the raid this morning. As we were readying to leave, a man who either was the owner of the house or contractor for the project, came to survey the damage. With his head and shoulders lowered, he just stood there. Silent and still. Out of respect for this man, I didn’t take a picture, as if a picture could capture the emotions in that man’s heart. Standing over the rumbled remnants of his former home.
As the walk involved walking on steep winding roads, a bus driver (intuiting the probable reason for why we were there) offered to take my family and I back to the center of town. He said that while the government has allowed arabs to build dozens of houses on the nearby hill, but have done nothing to stop it, this is what happens to their very own brothers. He was visibly tearful as he recounted this. I wasn’t going to ask my wife to take the walk to Bat Ayin Beit today, but then someone sent her a link to the video Katonti from Yonatan Razel to comfort the residents of Bat Ayin. But instead of my personal comfort and ability to process what just happened, the image of that man is still etched in my mind.
Do you know that the first thing he did was look at one of the pipes to see if it was salvageable? That’s the nature of a Jew. In the face of destruction, even from your own people, we rebuild. Somehow, we still rebuild.
I debated whether to write this. After all, we are still “wet behind the ears” here. But there is one Tweet yesterday from Rabbi Ginsburgh that further encouraged me to go ahead with this article. While they all speak about overcoming obstacles, and the return of “Rachel’s children” to God and the Land of Israel, this one in particular stood out to me:
תשע”ד (this year, 5774) is the initials of “Let this be a year of holy boldness” (תְּהֵא שְׁנַת עַזוּת דִּקְדוּשָׁה).
We should never be afraid to speak out. It is the “Voice of Jacob” that has survived as our strength and fortitude throughout these long, difficult years of exile. To use the common vernacular, for the Jewish people, the “pen” really is “mightier than the sword.”
In a world full of swords, it is the “pens” and voices of our people that will emerge victorious.
You are not alone my friend. We are all katonti, small together from the events of today….
The verse for the song mentioned above, comes from next week’s Torah portion where Jacob prayed to God to deliver him from the hand of his brother Esau (Genesis 32:11):
קָטֹנְתִּי מִכֹּל הַחֲסָדִים וּמִכָּל הָאֱמֶת אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ אֶת עַבְדֶּךָ
“I am too small for all the kindnesses and the truth that You have done for Your servant.”
See also: Refugees in a Jewish Land.
The Jerusalem District Attorney’s office decided on Sunday to close the file against the 13 year old boy who was their final suspect in the throwing of a firebomb that hit a Palestinian taxi in Gush Etzion in August.
The prosecutor closed the case due to lack of evidence that the boy or his friends, whom they had released months earlier, had thrown any firebombs.
On the day the taxi was hit by a firebomb, Arabs thew firebombs and stones at Jewish-driven cars in ten different locations throughout Judea and Samaria, causing some to consider the possibility that it was an Arab who threw the firebomb, and it missed its intended target, hitting the Arab taxi instead. It’s not known if the police investigated that possibility.
The remaining two Bat Ayin children, ages 12 and 13, accused of firebombing an Arab taxi were released from police custody on Friday morning without charges. They will remain under house arrest for one additional week.
The third child, age 12, who was released without any additional conditions a few days ago reported that the police treated them very poorly. They were hardly given any food their first day in jail and the interrogations lasted for hours during which they were screamed and yelled at.
Honenu, the Israeli legal rights organization reports that police denied the minors their basic civil rights on a number of occasions, including being denied access to their lawyer and the presence of an additional adult during interrogation, as required by law when minors are involved.
Initially the police denied the children access to a lawyer, until the Honenu lawyer brought his request to court, and the police were forced to comply with the law.
Honenu, the Israeli legal rights and aid organization announced that the two remaining minors from Bat Ayin who were arrested by police on suspicion of being involved in the August 16th firebomb attack on the Arab taxi will be released on Friday morning.
On Wednesday, a third minor was unconditionally released, other than being forbidden to contact the other two children.
The two other minors, ages 12 and 13, were left in police custody. The Police have been limiting their access to their lawyer over the past few days.
The three minors were originally among those rounded up and questioned by police on the night of the attack. The police then arrested the three children a few days later.
Last Sunday, the court said the police must release the minors, unless significant new evidence appears. On Monday, the police said they had new information and the court said the police could, in that case, extend the detention until Thursday.
The court decided that the remaining two children should be released to house arrest for one week with a NIS 2500 shekel third party guarantee for bail.
The Honenu lawyer for the minors, David Halevy, said that it appears that the police never had any evidence against the children and were simply trying to drag a false confession out of them by depriving them of their basic legal rights.
Two of the Arab victims said they saw a man in his twenties throw the firebomb.
The Rabbi of Bat Ayin, Daniel Cohen, condemned the attack in a letter to Bat Ayin residents. In the letter he expressed the hope that the children of Bay Ayin weren’t involved despite the suspicions against them, and called for ‘soul searching’ on the part of the town as the allegations have been primarily directed at them.
So far, one of the Bat Ayin minors, ages 12-13, arrested in suspicion of throwing the firebomb on the Arab taxi has been released.
The Legal Rights organization Honenu reports that the police have not allowed the two other children, still being detained, to talk with lawyers.
They furthermore claim that the police are not following proper procedure in investigating the case including the investigation of their alibis. And to add to that, one of the victims has stated publicly that their attacker was an adult in his twenties, while a second victim made it very clear that it could not have been 12-13 year old children that threw the firebomb.