A 22-year-old woman from the Yitzhar settlement who wrote that she supported rock-throwing against the IDF, even if it meant that a soldier was killed, was detained on Wednesday and released under house arrest to her parents’ home in the Otniel settlement in the West Bank.
The woman’s statement was written in an internal Internet forum for Yitzhar residents called “Yitzharnikim,” according to Yediot Aharonot, which broke the story on Wednesday.
The statement read “I am in favor of throwing rocks (at Jews, in terms of Arabs there of course isn’t any question), even in a situation where the rock kills a soldier!!!” The forum discussion took place on April 8, hours after IDF reservists and Yitzhar residents clashed over the demolition of some buildings in the area.
On Wednesday, almost exactly a month later, Eliraz Fein was arrested at 4:30 a.m., as the issue of Yediot was hitting the stands across the country.
During the arrest police seized a laptop, a disk-on key and a smart phone.
In court in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the debate circled around whether or not the statement constituted incitement and the significance of the fact that it was made in a private forum, never meant to be released publicly.
Attorney Adi Keidar said Fein, who is eight months pregnant, made her statement while she was in “great emotional distress during a very difficult time,” and said the case deals with the issues of “what is the interest in this forum, what’s the interest in a person asking his neighbor something in a post that’s not meant to be published.”
Keidar said that anyone can go online with a simple click on Google find death threats against just about anyone in the country.
Police officer Yossi Ovadia said that the case is still in its beginning stages and it deals with “a severe crime of incitement” and that the decision to make the arrest had nothing to do with public pressure.
In the end, Judge Ohad Gordon rejected the police call for a five-day remand extension, ordering Fein released to seven days house arrest at her parents’ home in Otniel.
Fein, who has no criminal record, was required to pay a NIS 2,500 bond and stay away from other suspects in the case. She is also banned from using a smartphone or a computer for the next seven days.
The news follows an attempt by the Yitzhar settlement to halt attacks against security forces in their community.
Late last month the settlement held a vote to oppose such violence, in which more than 50 percent of the 1,172-member community who are eligible voters participated.
But those who opposed the measure, did not vote.
Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika made his first harsh public comments on violence in Yitzhar on Wednesday.
He asked those who believe in attacking Israel’s security forces to leave Yitzhar and the Samaria region.
“They do not have a place among us,” he said.
Still, he and the Yitzhar spokesman Ezri Tovi warned against using this incident to incite against the residents of that community – and settlers in general.
“The words were written at a very emotional time,” Tovi said in the aftermath of home demolitions.
It does not justify calling settlers a “cancer” at a time when real terror acts are occurring against Israel, Tovi said.
Mesika said he thought it was odd that the police had evidence against her for several weeks but only arrested her after the article broke in Yediot.