Pri Haaretz rabbis speak out against Shin Bet

"The Jewish division of the Shin Bet, which deals with suspected violent activity by Jewish far-right nationalists, behaved irresponsibly and aggressively."

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January 13, 2019 21:46
2 minute read.
Pri Haaretz rabbis speak out against Shin Bet

The arrest of a minor suspected of Jewish terror. (photo credit: TPS)

 
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The two co-deans of the Pri Haaretz yeshiva high-school in Rehelim, whose students are suspected of involvement in the death of Palestinian woman Aysha Rabi in October, have called on the prime minister to halt the interrogation of the minors by the Shin Bet (Israel security agency).

Rabi was killed when a rock, apparently hurled from the road side, struck her as she and her husband were traveling by car close to the Tapuah junction in the West Bank.

The Shin Bet has detained five students of Pri Haaretz, who are suspected of involvement in the attack over the last three weeks, although four of the five have now been released.

Last week, the Shin Bet raided Pri Haaretz and summoned 30 students for questioning.

Rabbis Yehudah Libman and David Ben Natan said that the school had been established in a spirit of “hassidism of the Land of Israel” and as a place for students to grow and develop their potential.

“All of us, parents and educators, work day and night to educate in a warm and loving manner, to love other Jews, to partner in national missions in a responsible manner and with clearly do not [support] harm or damage to others, God forbid.”

The rabbis said that the Jewish division of the Shin Bet, which deals with suspected violent activity by Jewish far-right nationalists, behaved irresponsibly and aggressively, saying they had started by “trying to get to the truth” but “very quickly it became a brutal investigation that lays guilt against all the students, their parents, and the entire education system without any evidence.”


They added that they “cannot understand how an investigation into a stone throwing incident against cars with tragic consequences turned into a media and PR campaign about the exposure of a new terror organization.”

“We call on the prime minister, ministers, and the entire Israeli public, and spiritual and educational leaders to leave the Shin Bet out of the circle which deals with investigating youth suspected of criminal activity, and turn the best of our forces towards the security of Israel against its enemies,” the statement concluded.

During its investigations, the Shin Bet found an Israeli flag with a swastika and the slogan “death to Zionists” scrawled on it, as well as a  video of an Israeli flag being burned and other problematic evidence.

On a Shabbat, the day after the stone-throwing incident, where Rabi, a mother of nine was killed, Shin Bet agents began investigating close to the yeshiva.

Far-Right activists in the nearby settlement of Yitzhar drove to Pri Haaretz on that Shabbat morning in order to prepare the suspects for their questioning by the Shin Bet, and help them avoid revealing incriminating evidence while under interrogation.

The Prime Minister’s Office, which is responsible for the Shin Bet, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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