MKs Call for an End to Discrimination Against YESHA Residents

MKs from the Shas and National Union parties challenged the legislature Tuesday to cease discriminatory application of the law to Israelis in Hevron, and elsewhere in Judea and Samaria.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz , | updated: 6:51 PM

Knesset Member Chaim Amsellem (Shas) called on the defense minister to disband a ministerial committee dedicated solely to law enforcement against the Jews of Hevron. MK Uri Ariel (National Union-NRP), meanwhile, demanded that another ministerial committee dedicated specifically to enforcing the law in Judea and Samaria be forced to adhere to Knesset decisions condemning the excessive use of administrative detentions against Israelis. No other ministerial committees target specific Jewish communities in Israel for special attention to law enforcement.

In a letter to the chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, Menachem Ben-Sasson (Kadima), MK Ariel requested that the committee formally and officially clarify to government ministers that they are required to adhere to decisions passed by the parliament. His request comes after the Special Ministerial Committee on Law Enforcement in Judea and Samaria announced that it was intending to authorize the increased use of administrative detention and restraining orders against Israelis in those regions of the country. This, despite a Knesset vote on December 13, 2006 condemning the recent excessive use of such orders, issued against 20 Israelis from Judea and Samaria, and calling on the defense ministry to limit their use.

In parallel to MK Ariel's efforts, MK Amsellem has charged that a special ministerial committee dedicated to law enforcement against the Jewish community of Hevron is pointless and was only established as a result of media pressure.

In a letter to Defense Minister Amir Peretz, MK Amsellem wrote: "It is well known that the Jews of Hevron live under a genuine threat to their lives; a situation that, to our sorrow, has cost the lives of not a few of the residents. But to our great surprise, about a month ago, the government decided to establish a special ministerial committee to nip at their heels. And this, in the wake of exaggerated media coverage of a [Jewish] resident who used curse words."

The Shas MK decried the special attention to enforcement of the law specifically against the Jews of Hevron, saying it "constitutes discrimination and is a violation of human rights."

Furthermore, Amsellem wrote that even if it were a legitimately constituted committee, according to military and police reports, the incidents of clashes involving Jewish residents of Hevron have dramatically decreased recently. Such confrontations have, in the past, often led to the opening of many police files against Hevron residents, indicating a perceived law enforcement problem in the city; however, most such files are ultimately closed or dismissed by the courts.

MK Amsellem also wrote to the chairman of his own party, Industry and Trade Minister Eli Yishai, and to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, requesting that they act to disband the special ministerial committee and rescind its decisions.