An El Al plane in Ben Gurion Airport.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Shin Bet on Friday morning released information about activists who were detained by Israel at it's various borders, revealing that in only 17 out of 277 cases, in which a person was prevented from entering the country in the past year, it was because of their activism.
The investigation of Israel's border control was initiated by Deputy Attorney General Dina Silber and the Shin Bet after leftists organizations accused Israel of detaining far-left activists for political reasons.
The investigation found that in all cases the delay or arrest was lawful and was solely intededn to prevent illegal and potentially dangerous activity, not political activism.
However, the Shin Bet and Justice Ministry concluded, procedures will be reviewed and updated so as to assure the right balance between allowing legitimate protest and preventing potential harm to Israel and its citizens.
On September 13, left-wing Jewish American activist
Julie Weinberg-Connors, 23, was the latest in a series of activists who were detained at Ben Gurion Airport. Connors was questioned by the Interior Ministry notwithstanding being issued an A-1 temporary residence visa, because of previous visits to Area A in the West Bank.
On August 14, American journalist and liberal political commentator Peter Beinart was detained
at David Ben-Gurion airport. Beinart was detained on his way to celebrate his niece's Bat Mitzvah and was questioned regarding his political associations.
The Knesset in March passed a law banning foreign nationals who have publicly called for a boycott of Israel, or who work on behalf of organizations promoting boycotts, from entering the country.
Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog responded to the Beinart incident by saying he has anticipated for some time “serious mishaps at Ben-Gurion Airport.” He said that in May he asked Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Avi Dichter to convene a special session for parliamentary oversight on the issue.
“Unfortunately, damage to Israel’s good name and an unnecessary tempest among the Jews of the Diaspora was caused in vain. After the Beinart incident it is important to receive a response.”
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
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