Ben Uliel will pray alone in his cell on Rosh HaShana

Updated: Oct 5

Since the July 2015 arson attack on the Dawabshe family’s house in Kfar Duma, Honenu has assisted many Jews accused of involvement with the crime. For a selection of posts describing Honenu Attorneys’ representation of defendants and GSS interrogees, click here. To familiarize our readers with the case, Honenu has gathered – click here – various articles and short videos on the subject.

Amiram Ben Uliel; Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Saturday, September 24, 2022, 21:29 The Prison Service informed Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar that Amiram Ben Uliel will pray alone in his prison cell on Rosh HaShana. Approximately two weeks ago, Keidar wrote a letter to Eshel Prison asking the Prison Service to allow Ben Uliel to pray with a minyan and receive everything he requires for the High Holidays. Keidar noted in his letter that the religious needs and rights of prisoners are statutory and therefore they must be granted to Ben Uliel.

The letter from the Prison Service

The Prison Service wrote in reply: "[Ben Uliel] is held in a solitary confinement wing, and due to the nature of the wing, it is not possible to allow prayer in a minyan." The Prison Service also rejected Ben Uliel's request to return his black suits to him because "according to regulations, only prisoners held in the Torani [religious] wings may keep them."


Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar: "On the eve of Rosh HaShana, after a year during which the weak and groveling conduct of the Prison Service regarding Arab security prisoners was revealed, the entire system continues to stand firmly opposite one lone prisoner, a Jew, who is only asking to pray in a minyan after being held in solitary for almost seven years. This is a badge of shame for the entire system. We will demand an immediate accounting."


Last week, Knesset Member Yitzhak Pindrus (UTJ) wrote to Prison Service Commissioner Lieutenant General Katy Perry demanding that Amiram Ben Uliel be allowed to pray in a minyan and hear the shofar on the High Holidays. In his letter, Pindrus wrote: "As the High Holidays, Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, approach, I turn to you with a request to allow prisoner Amiram Ben Uliel from Eshel Prison in Be'er Sheva to pray in a minyan on Rosh HaShana and hear the shofar.


"There is no need to elaborate on the legal obligation to take action for the rights of the prisoner, and in the words of Supreme Court President Emeritus Aharon Barak, 'The nature of an enlightened society is measured by the manner in which it treats its prisoners. A prisoner is deprived of his liberty. However, his human essence has not been taken from him. Prison walls separate a prisoner from freedom. Prison walls must not separate a prisoner from human dignity.'"


Honenu director Shmuel Meidad wrote a letter to the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi David Lau and the Rishon LeTzion Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, requesting that they act on behalf of Amiram Ben Uliel so that he will be able to fulfill his religious requirements on the High Holidays. "[Amiram] is held under the most severe prison conditions in existence in the State of Israel today. Amiram sits alone in a small cell for over 20 hours a day. He is never allowed to come into contact with another prisoner."


Amiram Ben Uliel is being held under extremely harsh prison conditions in Eshel Prison in southern Israel. He is in a high-security wing, in isolation, without any contact with other prisoners. He is allowed to leave his cell for only two hours a day, alone, to an empty, closed-in prison yard. Contrary to other prisoners, he is prohibited from phoning either his family or his attorneys. His family is allowed to visit him once every two weeks for approximately half an hour, separated by a glass partition. Additionally, he is not allowed to go to the prison synagogue to pray with a minyan, and he is allowed to keep only five holy books in his cell.


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