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Educational institution harassed by GSS

Wednesday, January 2, 2019, 11:09 In the framework of the investigation into a security

First page of the letter from MK Smotrich

First page of the letter from MK Smotrich

incident being investigated currently, for which three minors who have not yet been permitted to meet with an attorney were detained by the GSS on Sunday, December 30, over 30 youths have been questioned in preliminary inquiries and the educational institution in the Shomron which the detained minors attend has been raided multiple times. The GSS raids and the preliminary inquiries disrupted the class schedule and the general operation of the institution, which led to intervention by Knesset Member Betzalel Smotrich, who sent an urgent letter to the Head of the GSS and the Attorney General. Part of the letter is translated here, translation by Honenu: “During the past few weeks I have been receiving many complaints from parents, students and staff members of an institution (whose name is under a gag order) in the Shomron about relentless persecution which has reached the level of illegal and unreasonable abuse by the GSS and the Israeli Police,” wrote Smotrich to the Attorney General and the Head of the GSS, approximately six weeks ago. “This relentless persecution includes threats, mass summons of yeshiva students to scare-talks, testimony-taking and interrogations, and also threats have been made to and scare tactics used on various persons connected in one way or another to the yeshiva, in an attempt to damage the yeshiva, its good name and cooperation with it. This appears to be a type of phishing, a sort of complete loss of senses, and shooting in all directions, without any concrete or specific grounds for suspicion,” added MK Smotrich. Students who were summoned to preliminary inquiries told MK Smotrich and Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar that the interrogators mocked them, yelled at them and verbally abused them. D., a student at the yeshiva, related this series of insults and threats: “They told me that I had ticks. They shouted at me, ridiculed me and told me that they would severely interrogate me.” MK Smotrich mentioned in his letter that the incident must be investigated, “however they [the police and the GSS] must do so in ways acceptable in a democratic state, and it is clear that it is unacceptable to administer collective punishment and utilize manipulative means with the high school yeshiva students and the staff, based on a general conjecture that some of the students are, G-d forbid, involved with the incident. “These actions, which have been carried out for several consecutive weeks, are severely disrupting the daily routine and the education functioning of the yeshiva, and terrifying the students and their parents, through no fault of their own. It seems that this is the exact intent of the above mentioned actions, and that is unacceptable.” Additionally, at the beginning of November, Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar turned to the police and demanded that they stop harassing the educational institution. Keidar also demanded that an officer be appointed to examine the serious claims. Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar: “The GSS has marked a target, and as a result is violating the rights of innocent people, harming youths, harming families and disturbing their daily routines. This is unacceptable and must be denounced and realized as dangerous. We have already seen in the past that this can lead to erroneous interpretations.” Attorney Itamar Ben Gvir: “Arriving at an educational institution and harassing the students is the height of contemptibility, and I ask myself, what is happening with the National Council for the Child? If the matter at hand were a school in Silwan or something in a Bedouin community, the Council for the Child and all the various civil rights organizations would really be storming the barricades. When it comes to a ‘settler’ institution suddenly there are no rights and no child, and it is less interesting to the civil rights organizations. This is very serious.” On Tuesday, January 1 the order preventing the detained minor from meeting with an attorney was extended until Friday, January 4. Following the extension hundreds of protesters demonstrated opposite the residence of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked in Tel Aviv and other protesters blocked the entrance to Jerusalem while calling out, “The GSS is like the KGB!”

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