Jewish worshipers detained after attack by Arab
Monday, May 28, 17:44 Five yeshiva students were detained yesterday after an altercation broke out between them and an Arab at “HaKotel HaKatan”, a section of the wall surrounding the Temple Mount near the Western Wall, Honenu reports. The students were held in remand until the middle of the night and then released on condition of a restraining order banning them from entering the Old City of Jerusalem for 15 days. A group of yeshiva high school students from Jerusalem accompanied by one of their rabbis arrived at HaKotel HaKatan yesterday towards the evening in order to say the afternoon prayers on the holiday of Shavuot. As the students were praying an Arab man accompanied by two Arab women passed by them. The Arabs spoke loudly, laughed and disturbed the prayers. In response to a request by the students praying to lower their voices the Arab man began to shout, curse and disturb the prayers even more. After several of the students attempted to remove the disruptive Arab from the scene, he pulled off his belt in order to attack them. An altercation developed between the Arab and the students. After a short time policemen, also Arabs, from the Old City of Jerusalem arrived. The first Arab pointed at several of the students who, according to him, had attacked him and the policemen detained them. According the students the Arab arbitrarily identified those involved with the altercation. One of the detained students claimed that the policemen did not inform them that they were arrested or detained and had only requested that they come with them to the police station in order to clarify the details of the incident, including by viewing the video taken by the security camera mounted at the scene. In the end the video was not viewed. Upon arrival at the police station the policemen informed the students that they were detained for interrogation. The students remained at the police station for interrogation until the middle of the night. Despite the fact that the law requires that the parents of a minor be informed of his arrest and that a parent or other adult be present during the interrogation of a minor, the parents of two of the detained students claim that they were not informed of the arrest. The parents of another student received an announcement only at 1:30 at night, even though their son had been detained since approximately 19:30. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar handled the case. The detainees told Honenu that the policemen refused their request for grape juice in order to say the havdala prayer at the end of Shabbat, and therefore during their entire stay at the police station they neither drank nor ate. (It is customary according to Jewish law to neither drink nor eat before saying the havdala prayer, which includes drinking wine or grape juice.) After several hours of interrogation at the police station the students were released on condition of a restraining order banning them for 15 days from the Old City of Jerusalem. The parents of one of the detained students told Honenu that their son had not been at the scene at the time of the incident and had arrived only after hearing about the altercation. “Why didn’t the police examine the film from the security camera, as they should have before opening a criminal file on my son?” asked the father of one of the students. According to him he did not receive any announcement of his son’s detention and only at 1:30 in the morning did his cell phone ring, but he didn’t answer in time and because the call was from an unlisted number he was unable to return the call. In conclusion the parents said that they intend to file a complaint on the conduct of the police and on the fact that their son was deprived of his rights as a minor, despite specific protection by law.