Eight Girls Protest Unjust Law, Remain in Prison

Eight girls aged 13-16 remain in prison after attempting to re-enter the destroyed Shomron community Sa-Nur. They say they won't cooperate with or recognize the secular & "immoral" judicial system.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 11:02

Two days ago, 13 girls were in prison for various periods ranging from a few days to almost three weeks, but five of them finally agreed to be released today and yesterday. They apparently changed their minds after speaking with Kiryat Arba's Chief Rabbi Dov Lior, agreeing to sign the release papers and to be photographed; the demand for fingerprinting was waived.

Rabbi Lior, who visited the girls on Wednesday, spoke with them of the need to balance their struggle for a Torah court system with the desires of their parents and their need to be in school.

Speaking with Arutz-7, Rabbi Lior described his visit with the young protestors:
"They are infused with conviction that they are working for Am Yisrael (the Nation of Israel), protesting the legal system and its entire policy. I greatly admire them; other girls their age are wasting their time on nonsense, but they are willing to give up their time and ignore their other needs in order to dedicate themselves to this cause, under such difficult conditions."

However, Rabbi Lior said, there are other considerations:
"In this case, some of the parents are very saddened and troubled by this situation - and this must be taken into account, in light of the Torah command to honor one's parents. Of course, if the parents tell their child to violate a Torah commandment, they need not listen - but [this is not the case here]. Therefore, I asked them to find the proper balance in this case. I told them: 'You waged a struggle for an important cause, against the justice system and its policy - but I don't think that the entire job lies on your young shoulders. You contributed, and there's no doubt that your efforts as young girls who are willing to sacrifice so much will have an effect on the entire society.'"

"I believe that in a case where the mother is so opposed," Rabbi Lior added, "the daughter should listen. It's also not good for the parents' authority to be so weakened; the girls are not yet 18, and it's unacceptable for the mother not to have a say; later there can be other problems and issues, such as dress or the like..."

Rabbi Lior said, "I can definitely understand them. They truly feel, as do many others, that the system has carried out many injustices, and that the law is evil. For instance, the way the people of Gush Katif were expelled, with no homes, jobs or education - this is just not something that can be done. And the law is used in a selective and forceful manner just against one sector, and picking on them [the girls] for little things like talking back or not cleaning their rooms and then denying them simple rights such as phone calls and visiting rights - and all this even though they're acting not for themselves, like thieves or drug users, but for all of Israel."

"And to keep them in prison until the end of the proceedings - this is unheard of! What, are they dangerous criminals?... We can't tell them that this is not an injustice. There are those who protest against injustice with sit-ins outside the Justice Ministry, while they have chosen to protest this way; this is their right."

As mentioned, two of the girls decided to agree to be released yesterday, and three more this morning.

Eight men also remain in prison for crimes related to protesting the disengagement. At 10 PM on Saturday night, the now-traditional Melaveh Malkah solidarity event will be held outside the walls of the Maasiyahu Prison in Ramle to encourage and strengthen those left inside. Pre-High Holiday selichot [penitential] prayers will be recited as well.