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  • Uri DeYoung

Activist sues police for illegal confiscation of personal weapon

Updated: May 31


Succot (second from left) in Ma'aleh Paula; Photo credit: Ma'aleh Paula

Sunday, May 29, 2022, 10:53 Yitzhar resident Tzvi Succot, chairman of the Emunim movement and a former spokesman for the community of Yitzhar, has sued the Israel Police for illegally confiscating and holding his personal weapon for six weeks. Succot filed the suit at the Be'er Sheva Magistrates Court with the assistance of Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado. The statement of claim (summarized below) describes the confiscation and the difficulties Succot endured while attempting to retrieve his weapon from the police.

In light of the claims mentioned below, Succot is asking the court to impose payment of 30,000 NIS on the police in compensation for damages, distress, and legal expenses. The statement of claim also cites the battle fought by Honenu Attorney Nat Rom to have Succot's weapon retrieved from the Rahat Police and the many hours of legal representation Rom invested in having the weapon returned.‏

Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado: "We will work towards Tzvi Succot receiving compensation for the unjustified confiscation of his weapon and the disregard of the Israel Police for his rights. The further-reaching goal of this case is to set binding standards for when weapons may be confiscated from a Jew and when not. The arbitrary manner in which it is being done today must be changed."


The summary:

On 9/2/22, the claimant [Succot] came with a group of public activists, among them members of Knesset and public leaders, and set up a community by the name of 'Ma'aleh Paula' adjacent to Kibbutz Beit Kama for the purpose of a protest demonstration. This was a clearly demonstrative event meant to express objection to the status of construction in the Negev and to the [security] situation in the Negev in general.

At the closing of the event and after the structures that had been set up for the event had been dismantled, the police demanded that the claimant come to the Rahat Police Station for interrogation. During the entire event, the claimant's personal weapon remained in his pouch, he did not make use of it, and there were no circumstances that raised a need for or a concern that use would be made of the weapon. There was no connection between the event and the subject of using a weapon.

At the conclusion of his interrogation, although the weapon had not been removed from its pouch during the entire event, the claimant was required to check his weapon at the police station. The claimant was interrogated about trespassing on State Land – which as grounds for interrogation lacks all content or substance – and at the completion of the interrogation, the claimant's personal weapon was illegally taken from him. From then on, the weapon was held by the police until the final decision by the Honorable [Be'er Sheva District Court] Judge Sulkin to return the illegally confiscated and held weapon to the claimant.

According to the 'silenced terror log' [a listing of unreported or barely publicized incidents of terror] recorded by the online newspaper HaKol HaYehudi, approximately 400 incidents of terror were counted during the time that the weapon was held. That is approximately 10 incidents per day, and most of them occurred in the Yehuda and the Shomron regions. In light of the number of terror incidents, substantial damage was caused to the feeling of freedom of the claimant and his family due to the claimant not having his weapon at a difficult time.

Taking family members out of the house and onto the roads is a genuine concern for every resident of the Yehuda and Shomron regions. This concern caused the claimant to refrain from certain outings on which he would have gone had his weapon been in his possession. The needless feeling of insecurity and inconvenience accompanied the claimant on most of his travels throughout the weeks that he did not have his personal weapon.

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