Moshe Ben-Zikri, a right-wing activist who lives in Harish, near Hadera, last Tuesday, following the Bnei Brak terrorist massacre, informed the police that he intended to organize a protest demonstration at the entrance to the city of Umm al-Fahm in the Arab Triangle. In response, police officers arrived at his home, arrested him, and kept him an entire night in custody.
The next day, Ben-Zikri was brought before Justice of the Peace Yaniv Heller in Hadera, who rejected the police’s request for remand and ordered his immediate release.
Judge Heller ruled there was no plausible reason for Ben Zikri’s arrest. “There’s no disputing that the suspect is a social activist, and it’s not disputed that in the past he also informed the police commander in his area regarding holding demonstrations,” Judge Heller wrote, adding, “I did not find that his current announcement constituted any threat of personal injury, and I even doubt whether there is even reasonable suspicion of an offense here. As you recall, a limited demonstration is allowed by law,” the judge reminded the police.
Ben Zikri told the legal aid society Honenu, which represents him, about the tense moments he had experienced Tuesday night: “After the horrific attacks of the past week, the residents of our area decided to go out and demonstrate. Out of good citizenship, I sent a message to the station commander in the area who surprisingly did not reply. But within a few hours, armed detectives came to my house and arrested me.”
“Israel Police took me away from my 12 children and my wife, who was very frightened and kept me in custody for an entire night for no reason. It’s a clear attempt at silencing me, and a serial suppression of protests and demonstrations contrary to any democratic norm,” Ben Zikri said, adding: “I will not be deterred and will continue to work for the people of Israel, and many thanks to my wife and children who support me constantly and to Honenu for their immediate assistance.”
Honenu Attorney Vicky Shmuel, representing Ben Zikri, said the court had clearly found nothing wrong in his client’s conduct, and the cops would have done better not to arrest him at all.