(photo credit: Courtesy Arik Ascherman/Rabbis for Ruman Rights)
Police questioned and searched the apartment of a social justice activist in
Jerusalem despite a ban that Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch
issued on such police tactics, activists said Wednesday.
Vicki Vanunu, a
public housing rights activist and single mother, received a summons by phone to
appear for questioning by the Jerusalem police, a day after social justice
activists slammed police for issuing requests for questioning five lead
activists in the center of the country.
“She was asked about a local
protest planned for tomorrow, and accused of illegal activity,” a statement by
social justice activists said on Wednesday. “Officers said they wanted to arrive
at her home and carry out a search without a warrant.”
police to search her home “to prove her innocence,” the statement said, adding
that police, who were searching for torches they believed would be used in
Thursday’s rally, found nothing incriminating.
Police said that Vanunu
was planning a public housing protest on Thursday without a proper
“In a democratic state, police do not investigate protesters for
planning a demonstration, and certainly does not ask to search their houses in
order to locate materials used for demonstrations,” said Laila Margalit, an
attorney for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel.
Vanunu became one
of the driving forces behind the social justice protests in Jerusalem over the
summer, and is still an activist with the “Ma’abara” housing activism
“We view with severity the police’s attempt to torpedo the
democratic rights of local activists to protest against ongoing discrimination
against them,” the activists said.
Earlier Wednesday, the public security
minister contacted the deputy police commissioner, Cmdr. Yisrael Yitzhak, and
ordered him to cease questioning activists over future actions.
Tuesday, Tamir Hgage, 44, of Kfar Saba, who was also summoned for police
questioning, told The Jerusalem Post
he had never broken any law and always held
legal protests in the dozens of events he has organized.
was [meant] to scare me,” he said.