‘Police Harassing Nationalists for Money’

Police have repeatedly arrested young men in order to justify their budget, families accuse.

Maayana Miskin ,

'Price Tag' graffiti (file)
'Price Tag' graffiti (file)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Police are unjustly harassing young Jewish nationalists in order to justify their large annual budget, relatives of those arrested accused Sunday.

Their claims were backed by the Honenu legal rights group, which accused police of a “draconian” campaign against several young men and called on courts to “put the police in their place.”

The accusations were made regarding three young men who have been repeatedly arrested and released on suspicion of taking part in suspected “price tag” Jewish revenge operations. The three say they have no connection to “price tag” attacks, and were targeted at random.

They were first arrested eight months ago by police searching for suspects in a “price tag” attack. The three say they were on their way to visit holy sites in Israel’s north and happened to pass through a region where a price tag attack had been committed.

They were questioned, and quickly released unconditionally.

However, a short time later, the owner of the car was arrested again. The man, a resident of the Hevron area whose brother was murdered by terrorists, proclaimed his innocence again and was released again.

For months, the three were left alone. However, responsibility for the case was then transferred to the International Crimes division in Lod – and on Sunday they were detained for questioning yet again.

“The new investigative committee is taking desperate steps as it is forced to justify its existence and its large budget,” relatives of the three accused. “The International Crime Unit is looking for headlines in order to pretend the detainees have something to do with ‘price tag.’”

The new unit “has gone completely off track,” Honenu charged.

“It’s absurd that police would re-arrest people after the charges against them have been proven baseless, simply because the investigating unit was changed,” the group said, adding, “We hope the court system will put police in their place and release the three.”