Court rules in favor of detained yeshiva students

The Jerusalem Magistrate Court ruled that the police acted improperly in detaining a yeshiva student and confiscating his pamphlets.

Gary Willig ,

Rabbi Dov Lior
Rabbi Dov Lior
Hillel Meir

The Jerusalem Magistrate ruled in favor of two students from the Nir Yeshiva in Kiryat Arba against the police for detaining one of the students by Jaffa Gate and confiscating the students' pamphlets summarizing a rabbinical conference in the wake of the arrest of Rabbi Dov Lior.

Senior Registrar Binyamin Ben-Simon awarded the students 8,000 shekels in compensation from the police.

In July of 2011, the police detained a yeshiva student near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem's Old City because he seemed to them "to be like the 'Hilltop Youth'." Upon searching his belongings the police found several dozen copies of the pamphlet Le'Amitah shel Hatorah (On the Truth of the Torah), along with items from the conference.

When the police saw the name of Rabbi Dov Lior they assumed that the pamphlets constituted incitement and confiscated them.

The court criticized the conduct of the police officers. "As I listened to the claims of the state and the testimony of the police I could not understand why the pamphlets were being mentioned in the context of incitement. The pamphlets are a collection of speeches from rabbis praising the personality and authority of Rabbi Dov Lior."

"I could not even understand the supposed relationship between these pamphlets and the incidents of rioting and vandalism after the detainment Rabbi Lior."

The court ruled that there had been no grounds for suspicion of a crime or for the detainment of the student and the searching of his belongings.

Attorney Yitzhak Baum, who represented the plaintiffs,said in response to the ruling that "unfortunately, there is a widespread phenomenon of groundless detentions of people with kippot (skull caps) or sidelocks in the Old City."

In 2011, Rabbi Dov Lior was detained by police following allegations that a book he wrote a recommendation for, Torat Hamelech (The Law of the King), constituted incitement against Arabs and stated that it was permissible to kill non-Jewish civilians. The Attorney General closed the investigation into the book on the grounds that there was not enough evidence of intention to incite.

"Hilltop youth" are young people who have decided to settle barren hills in Judea and Samaria, despite difficult conditions. Some do not identify with the state as it is run today. They have been accused of vandalism called "price tag" and many have been driven from their makeshift homes, some arrested for alleged illegal acts.