Two Beitar Residents Released After Assimilation Protest
Two Beitar Ilit residents were released from custody Sunday after they were arrested by police on suspicion of harassing a Jewish female resident of the city who was allegedly dating an Arab. Police said the two were working on behalf of the Lehava organization, which protests against assimilation.
Police claimed that the two attacked the female resident last week. They were detained, and police asked a Jerusalem court to extend their remand for seven days.
The two, 20 and 25 years of age, were represented by attorneys Itamar Ben Gvir and Avichai Hajabi, representing the Honenu organization. The attorneys demanded that the court release the two, saying that there was no solid evidence against them, and that they had denied the charges. In addition, they said, the alleged victim had failed to identify the two in a lineup.
The judge refused police requests to extend the remand of the pair for seven days, instead allowing police to hold them for one more day as they built their case. On Sunday, the court ordered the pair released to house arrest.
Bentzi Gopstein, chairman of Lehava, said that there had been no violence involved in the incident, but that there had been a protest, as the two were among many Israelis who are not prepared to tolerate assimilation in Israel. “I believe they will be released and will eventually be rewarded for their activities.” Ben Gvir and Hajabi said in a statement that their clients had denied the charges against them, and that in any event the violence that police themselves claimed took place was not “serious.”