MKs: Ministry 'Discussions' A Danger to Democracy

The Justice Ministry often orders activists who have been exiled from their homes in for 'discussions,' a Ministry official said.

David Lev ,

Police Confront Activists
Police Confront Activists
Flash 90

The Justice Ministry is in the habit of ordering activists from Judea and Samaria who have been exiled from their homes in for “discussions,” a Ministry official said Sunday. To the dismay of MKs who said that the tactic was unfair and undemocratic, the official, Shlomi Abramson, told MKs at a meeting of the Knesset Constitutional Committee that the discussions were meant to convince the activists to “return to the proper path.”

Among the tactics the legal establishment takes against activists who are accused of “price tag” activities and the like is a six-month administrative “detention,” in which the activist is forbidden from entering Judea and Samaria – including their home. The tactic has been used against many activists.

However, said Abramson, the Ministry is not through with the activists even when they are sent away; they are often called in for “discussions,” in which officials try to “convince” them not to repeat the error of their ways.

The revelation stunned rightwing MKs, who said that the Ministry's policy was problematic in light of democratic values. MKs Yariv Levine (Likud-Beytenu) and Orit Struk (Jewish Home) said that the notion was “unbelievable. First you punish them by removing them from their homes, and then you threaten them!”

Levine said that the entire procedure was undemocratic. “You can see where this is going,” he said. “Soon, if someone has information about a criminal event or situation, they will simply be thrown out of their homes for six months or a year, until they tell what they know.” This apparently was already being done with residents of Judea and Samaria, he added.

In response, Abramson said that the purpose of the discussions was not to threaten anyone, but to avoid the need for the administrative orders – to which MKs responded that if that were the case, the discussions were taking place “after the fact,” as Abramson had admitted that they took place after the orders were issued.