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Will Elad Sela be home for Rosh HaShana?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 15:19 Malka Sela, the wife of Elad Sela, a soldier from Bat Ayin indicted in April 2015 on suspicion of leaking military information to activists in the Etzion Bloc region, asked Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan to intervene and allow Elad furlough for the Rosh HaShana holiday. Sela cited discrimination, noting that Anat Kam, who was convicted of similar charges, was allowed furlough: “Why was Anat Kam with her family for the holiday whereas Elad will not spend Rosh HaShana with his children?” Elad Sela has already served 18 months of the 45-month prison term to which he was sentenced in January 2016. Sela, a soldier in the Etzion Territorial Brigade, was detained on suspicion of leaking to Bat Ayin residents documents involving surveillance by the ISA and the police of the movements of the residents. Currently his wife Malka is protesting his harsh prison conditions and his lack of furloughs, which is due to his classification as a security prisoner. In preparation for Rosh HaShana, Malka Sela wrote a letter to Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, requesting that he intervene and remedy the discrimination against her husband. As an example she mentioned that Anat Kam, who was convicted of similar violations under more severe circumstances, was granted furloughs and was not classified a security prisoner. “Certainly his honor recalls the ‘Anat Kam Affair’, which was revealed several years ago. In that case the same violations were judged for which my husband was convicted. Also then a soldier transferred confidential information to an unauthorized person. Furthermore, in Kam’s case the information involved sensitive security matters concerning terrorists, whereas in Elad’s case the information concerned police surveillance of Jewish citizens,” wrote Sela to Erdan. According to Sela her husband was discriminated against because of his political opinions. “While Kam, whose political opinions were obvious, received furloughs and was not classified as a security prisoner, my husband was classified as a security prisoner, furloughs were completely denied him, even in instances of humanitarian need, and that is solely because of his outward appearance and his opinions. “Why was Anat Kam with her family for the holiday whereas Elad will not spend Rosh HaShana at home with his children? This is a crude and callous trampling of democratic values and a personal attack on my husband.” Sela wrote about her husband’s enlistment in the IDF despite medical problems and his being married and the father of two children. She cited his strong aspiration to contribute to society. “Elad enlisted in the army at the age of 25, when already married and a father, despite the not insignificant medical problems from which he suffers. In spite of all difficulties, Elad saw a great need to serve and to give all that he could in order to be an IDF soldier. He believed in this contribution and was proud to be part of it and participate in it. “We have, thank G-d, two children, a three-year old girl and a little one and a half year old boy, whom Elad unfortunately does not know at all because he was two weeks old when Elad was detained. During this long period of time we have been able to visit Elad only once every two weeks for one half hour. This visit is not enough to maintain a relationship between Elad and his children as a father-figure and adversely affects their daily functioning. “I ask that you immediately remedy this discrimination and allow my husband to celebrate Rosh HaShana around the same table as his family,” wrote Sela to Erdan. Honenu has been assisting Elad Sela and his family since 2015: “This is a serious case of callous discrimination which should not occur. There is no reason to harass a soldier and his family. Why should Elad Sela be prevented from seeing his children for a longer time? Why should he not be allowed to spend a holiday at his home, as is the custom for prisoners who have been convicted of much more serious crimes? What is the reason for this malicious hypocrisy?”

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