Protest in Ariel: "Stop the Madness!"
Sunday, June 26, 2022, 7:40 On Saturday night, after Shabbat, opposite the Ariel Police Station, more than 500 demonstrators protested the detention of an Ariel resident who defended a group of attacked children last week. Rabbis and other public figures were among the demonstrators, including Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, Chief Rabbi of the Shomron; Yossi Degan, Shomron Regional Council Head; MK Idit Silman; and MK Simha Rothman. Several of the demonstrators spoke during the protest:
MK Simha Rothman: "What the police and the GSS are doing here harms and endangers every one of us. When we need to defend ourselves against a terror attack, we will think twice whether or not we want to spend time in a GSS dungeon. There is no question about whom to believe in situations like this. We already know that the GSS has claimed not to be torturing detainees when they were. We are here to save an abused man from his abusers. It is intolerable that in the State of Israel, a Jew who defended himself and those around him is treated like a terrorist."
MK Idit Silman said that according to the information that she received, the health condition of the detainee is problematic. "The remand conditions, the conduct [of the GSS], not only is [the situation] not proper, it is not ethical. Tomorrow, I will demand that the Knesset Health Committee convene in order to discuss and examine the remand conditions and his detention. We will verify that he is being held under suitable and appropriate conditions and that his health is not harmed."
Shomron Regional Council Head Yossi Degan: "We came here because what is happening is an unprecedented injustice. We demand that the GSS and the government of Israel release the resident and restore his rights. [The detainee's remand conditions are such] that members of the Mafia who fire missiles do not receive: prohibition to meet with an attorney, sleep deprivation. This incident should not be investigated by the GSS. It should be investigated here at the Ariel Police Station. Security deteriorates and our lives are endangered when our residents are harassed for defending themselves. We demand that the [law enforcement authorities] stop the violation of this resident's rights. There is a clear policy here of discriminating against the residents of Yehuda and Shomron."
Rabbi Elyakim Levanon: Rabbi Levanon reiterated that the children were simply out for a walk when "a group of rioters with knives and axes" attacked them, and added: "We remember the police forces, we remember the senseless declarations of who was at fault in the Lod riots. We've already been there. Who is guilty? Not the Arabs – [they claim that] a Jew who ascended the Temple Mount caused the rioting. The Jews are guilty of everything. Are we in the Diaspora? Under antisemitism? In the end, the Jews are guilty? We are here to protest this terrible injustice."
Dozens of Knesset members signed a letter to Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and Ronen Bar, the head of the GSS, demanding that the Ariel resident who was detained after defending a group of attacked children be allowed to meet with his attorney. Part of the letter reads as follows: "At this time, a Jew is detained and prevented from meeting with an attorney. This is at a time that none of the rioters who attacked Jews with clubs and rocks have been detained. Preventing [a detainee] from meeting with an attorney violates a fundamental legal right. We demand that he be allowed to meet with his attorney immediately."
As stated in a complaint filed by Keidar last Thursday, the detained Ariel resident underwent extremely harsh GSS interrogations. He was interrogated four times in less than 24 hours, deprived of sleep, and refused medical treatment. The intensive interrogations lasted for hours, including all night.
The Ariel resident is in his 40s, has three children, aged 6, 5, and 3, served in the Navy, and does not have a criminal record. On Tuesday (June 21), he went for a walk with a group of children just outside of Ariel's fence. They were attacked by dozens of Arabs armed with axes, clubs, and metal bars. The following day the Ariel resident went to the Ariel Police Station to file a complaint against the assailants and give testimony about the incident. To his shock, instead of taking his testimony, the police detained him and prevented him from meeting with Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar, who is representing him. Last Thursday, the Ashkelon Magistrates Court extended the detainee's remand until the following Wednesday.
For more details of the case, click on the links below:
June 25, 2022: Shomron Regional Council Head Degan: "Release the attacked detainee!"
June 24, 2022: Ariel detainee has not yet met with Honenu Attorney Keidar
June 23, 2022: Ariel resident accused of murder after defending attacked children
June 23, 2022: MKs sign letter in support of Ariel detainee
June 22, 2022: Honenu Attorney Keidar demands to meet with Ariel detainee
June 22, 2022: MK Arbel demands answers regarding Ariel detainee
June 22, 2022: Arabs attack Jewish children near Ariel, their defender is detained