State closes probe into draft-dodge group 'New Profile'

State closes probe into

By DAN IZENBERG
November 1, 2009 22:39
2 minute read.

 
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The state informed the High Court of Justice on Sunday it had closed its criminal investigation against the New Profile organization, which it suspected of encouraging Israelis to dodge the draft. "On October 25, after examining the evidence, the decision was taken to close the investigation," wrote the state's representative, attorney Michal Michlin-Friedlander. "Regarding some of the suspects, it was decided to close the file for lack of guilt, while regarding others, it was decided to close the case for lack of evidence." Attorney Smadar Ben-Natan, who represented New Profile, told The Jerusalem Post that about 10 members of the organization had been interrogated by police during the investigation, which began in April. She said she was informed the case had been closed last Thursday, but still has not received details regarding the decision. At the time, the Deputy State Attorney for Special Tasks, Shai Nitzan, informed Ben-Natan that he had instructed the police to open an investigation against "the operators of the Internet sites of New Profile and Target 21 and those that back them." He said they were suspected of inciting to disobedience, helping and encouraging civilians to obtain an exemption from military service by deceit and helping and inciting civilians to obtain an exemption from service by deliberately giving false information. In the state's response to the petition, Michlin-Friedlander wrote that some of the material that appeared on the site was, in fact, criminal but the state could not find enough acceptable evidence to indict anyone specifically. This was particularly true regarding the Web site material that incited to draft-dodging, she wrote. "Furthermore, the material that did incite to deceiving the military authorities was removed from the New Profile site," she informed the court. According to Ben-Natan, the New Profile site does not contain any material inciting any to avoid military conscription. However, it did include a link connecting readers to the site of Target 21, a mysterious organization which does incite to avoiding the draft and also instructs readers on techniques for deceiving the military authorities. Ben-Natan said New Profile has since removed the link. It is not clear whether anyone from Target 21 was investigated by police. No one seems to know who is behind that organization. Ben-Natan said she thought it was possible that those regarding whom the case was closed for lack of sufficient evidence were the ones who operated the site, whereas those for whom the file was closed for lack of guilt were those that were not directly involved in operating the site. "At any rate," said Ben-Natan, "the outcome of the investigation proves that the bulk of New Profile's activity is totally legitimate." New Profile has maintained all along that it does not try to persuade anyone to refuse to serve in the army, but that it provides support for such people after they have made the decision on their own.

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