Police are investigating Ghassan Monayer, 44, from Lod, for a item he wrote on Facebook criticizing the government initiative to get Arab Christians to volunteer for the army. Police detained him on suspicion of posting a threatening message.
Monayer, an Arab Christian, was released to five days house arrest on condition that he turn over his computer, telephone and iPad.
Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, filed an appeal in Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Monday against the conditions of Monayer’s release.
“The decision to detain the appellant was illegal in the first place,” argued Fady Khoury, an Adalah lawyer handling the case.
Khoury said that Monayer was arrested for merely expressing his opinion on the recent initiative to recruit Arab Christians for the army and that the authorities and Father Gabriel Nadaf cannot be immune from criticism.
And even if the accused was guilty of the offense, there still was no reason for the police to seize his computer and other equipment, the lawyer said.
Along with the Facebook post last Wednesday, Monayer posted a picture of a meeting between Nadaf and Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
Nadaf is a Greek Orthodox priest who supports IDF enlistment and the integration of Christians into Israeli society.
When police questioned Monayer, he denied that he was threatening anyone.
“I expressed my point of view in Arabic. I did not use any violent words or threats,” even though the police said the people involved claimed they were threatened, Monayer told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Tuesday.
“Both investigators said this won’t reach a judge. So if you knew it why did you keep me for six hours and take my computers.
I should have gotten my stuff back today, according to the agreement,” he said.
The officers interrogated him for 20 minutes, but he spent six hours in the police station.
“Most of the time doing nothing,” he said.
“This behavior is threatening – not to criticize Nadaf and others – they don’t let you express your thoughts,” Monayer complained.
“Nadaf should be praying with people in the church, but what he is really doing is dividing the society. They are trying to divide us [Christian Arabs] from the Muslims,” he said.
Nadaf's youngest son was attacked in Nazareth in December.
Following the December attack, Upper Nazareth mayor Shimon Gafsou visited the priest’s son in the hospital and condemned the violent attack.
“Attacking the son of Father Nadaf began with incitement and could have ended much worse.
Israel must give full backing to those in the Christian community who wish to enlist,” Gafsou said.