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Prisoners of Zion: Release Tzviya from Prison

18 former Prisoners of Zion are trying to get Tzivya Sariel freed from prison - or at least have mainstream Israeli media recognize her plight.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 3/17/2008, 5:05 PM

18 former Prisoners of Zion are trying to get Tzivya Sariel freed from prison.  The teenager has been imprisoned for three and a half months, because she refuses to recognize the right of a non-Torah legal system to prevent Jews from exercising their national rights in the Land of Israel.

Among the refuseniks who have come out publicly demanding 18-year-old Tzviyah's release are Ida Nudel, Yosef Mendlevitch, Silva Zalmanson, Natan Anatoly Altman,and Yosef Begun.  In a letter to government ministers, they write that Tzviya's arrest is meant simply to humiliate her and deter others who agree with her.

The letter is addressed to Prime Minister Olmert, Justice Minister Friedmann, Defense Minister Barak, Trade Minister Eli Yihai and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter.  "Unlike in the totalitarian regime against which we stood in the Soviet Union," the letter states, "a democratic state is supposed to strive not to oppress its citizens, but rather to work with them."

Secular Court Recognizes Sanhedrin
This past Friday, the Netanya Magistrates Court took the unprecedented step of allowing the Sanhedrin - the unrecognized Rabbinical Court for People and State - to rule on the case, and to have Tzviya testify there.  The Court concluded that the girl's refusal to recognize Israel’s current justice system is justified, and ordered her immediate release.  An Israel Prison Service warden said that the order would be fulfilled, and Tzviya was in fact freed of her shackles - but was not released.

On Sunday, a Kfar Saba court was petitioned to find out why Tzviya is still in jail, but no answer has been forthcoming.

Media Ignores - Purposefully
The case, about which Sanhedrin judge Rabbi Yisrael Ariel said, "Every day and every hour that Tzvia Sariel spends behind bars is a wrongdoing to this girl," has received remarkably little media interest.  At least two journalists from mainstream media, both print and electronic, have said off the record that their lack of coverage is no coincidence, and that they have no interest in showing support for someone who professes to oppose the State.

Tzviya Sariel was arrested in December on charges of pushing an elderly Arab who entered her town to pick olives.  The alleged victim said in the last secular court hearing that he withdraws his charges and wishes to live only in peace - but Tzviya, in explicably, remains in the N'vei Tirtzah women's prison.