Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Sunday, May 15, 2022, 8:57 Last Friday, a Hareidi youth from Beitar Illit was detained and held in custody until after Shabbat, at which time Jerusalem Magistrates Court President Judge Shmuel Herbst ordered his unconditional release. Judge Herbst also reprimanded the Yehuda and Shomron Police for detaining the youth. Honenu Attorney Nati Rom represented the youth.
The incident occurred several hours before the onset of Shabbat. Two youths from Beitar Illit started out to immerse in a spring just outside of the city. Security forces noticed them and summoned the police to examine what they were doing. One of the youths evaded the police, and the other one was detained on a claim that he had damaged the fence and trespassed into a "Palestinian" area which he was forbidden to enter. He was taken in for interrogation, not allowed to meet with an attorney before Shabbat, and held in remand over Shabbat.
Saturday night (after Shabbat), at a Jerusalem Magistrates Court hearing, the police claimed that because of the sensitive security situation the presence of Jews in the area could be considered a danger to the general public. The youth does not have a criminal record. However, at the hearing, the police attempted to claim that he was suspected of having one, but did not bring any supporting evidence. The police also requested a four-day remand extension.
During the hearing, Honenu Attorney Rom stated that he had not been allowed to speak to the youth before the onset of Shabbat, which severely violated his rights and deprived him of suitable representation. Rom also stated that the youth's actions did not constitute any crime, the fence in question belongs to Beitar Illit, people are allowed to immerse in the spring before Shabbat, and the incident was neither criminal nor problematic.
Jerusalem Magistrates Court President Judge Shmuel Herbst wrote in his decision that the statement by the police representative regarding a Jewish presence in the area of the spring being a possible danger was incomprehensible to him: "Examination of the Scroll of Independence indicates that this is a Jewish State that was founded for the Jewish People. The presence of a Jew at this site does not constitute a suspicion of danger to the general public." (Note that the incident occurred one week after Independence Day.) Judge Herbst also wrote that it would have been best had the demand for a remand extension not been submitted. He ordered the unconditional release of the youth to his home and rejected the police demand to delay carrying out the decision.
Honenu Attorney Nati Rom: "Unfortunately, we have witnessed once again the confusion of the police, who at this complicated time of terror and general lack of order, detained a youth whose only 'crime' was that he went out to a spring to immerse before Shabbat. There are senior officials in the Israel Police who have not yet understood the new reality here in the Jewish State and are still intentionally harassing Jews instead of fighting the war on the terror that is clearly felt on the streets of Israel. I hope that the police will quickly wake up and take care of the matter before it is too late."