Updated: Apr 7, 2022
Honenu has represented many citizens whose fundamental rights, including freedom of expression and freedom of protest, have been violated with regard to pride marches. Please click here for a list of relevant posts. Honenu has represented numerous detainees who have filed complaints with, and in some cases sued, the Israel Police for illegal strip searches. Please click here for a sampling of cases.
Wednesday, April 6, 2022, 13:10 The office of the Attorney General recently informed Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado, who filed a suit on behalf of the plaintiffs, that the Israeli Police will pay three hareidi yeshiva students from Bnei Brak who underwent a humiliating strip search 8,500 NIS each in compensation.
The incident occurred on June 25, 2021, the day of the Tel Aviv Pride March that year. The three yeshiva students, who were not aware of the Pride March, were on their way to the Sheraton Beach. When they approached the beach, policemen on the scene unjustifiably detained and publicly degraded them by stripping them to their boxer shorts and body searching them. A search of this type is permitted only if there is a reasonable suspicion that an individual is concealing an object liable to be used in a crime.
The statement of claim in the suit filed with the Tel Aviv Magistrates Court mentions that the search was completely unnecessary, unjustified according to normal police practices, and not according to legal standards of human dignity. The students claimed that they were searched only because of their hareidi appearance, although the street was not closed off to hareidi Jews and Sheraton Beach, which is designated as a separate beach for the hareidi and religious public, was operating as usual, despite its close proximity to the site of the Pride March.
The three students were 19-20 years of age, none of them had a criminal record, and there was no intelligence information on any of them that indicated that they posed a danger to the Pride March participants. During the humiliating search, one of the students showed the police officer at the site that he had a watermelon in his bag, proving that he was on his way to the beach and had no intention to cause problems. However the policemen countered that he did not have a bathing suit, did not accept his explanation that a friend was bringing him one, and then strip searched him.
Several minutes later, the other two students arrived with bathing suits, but nonetheless, they were also strip searched and accused of intending to disturb public order. The students were strip searched despite the presence of metal detectors that the policemen could have used to check whether or not they were carrying dangerous objects. In the end, after the police did not find anything suspicious, the three students were released, but required to take a circuitous route to the beach, which added 40 minutes to their walk.
With the assistance of Honenu, the three students sued the Israel Police for the degradation that they had endured. In a compromise agreement, the police agreed to pay each plaintiff 8,500 NIS in compensation.
Honenu Attorney Menashe Yado: "In Israel 2022, it is not at all easy to publicly identify as a Jew. Terrorists target all Jews in nationalistic attacks, and on a very different level, the Israel Police regard religious Jews as a social danger.
"We are fighting for the Jewish character of the State of Israel and for the defense of Am Yisrael in their Land. This incident is a clear example of an important effort that yielded results. Policemen cannot strip search youths without facing repercussions."