Youth under house arrest can pray with minyan 'on Shabbat only'

Jewish youth indicted for lighting church on fire allowed by court to pray with minyan, but only on Shabbat.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Itamar Ben-Gvir
Itamar Ben-Gvir
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Judge Nava Bahor of the central district court rejected the position of the prosecution not to allow a minor investigated within the context of the Duma incident to attend a minyan (prayer quorum) for his daily prayers.

An indictment was filed against the youth for burning a church and damaging Arab property, and in a legal precedent he was released by the Supreme Court to house arrest in the Golan Heights.

Several months ago, the minor’s attorney, Itamar Ben-Gvir, filed a request to allow his client to be able to leave his house so as to pray his daily prayers with a minyan. The governmental testing service associated with the Ministry of Social Services supported the request, emphasizing the importance of prayer with a minyan and the fact that a notable change had taken place in the minor, and noted that prayer with a minyan would encourage him to continue on a positive path.

In a hearing that took place yesterday at the central district court, the prosecution opposed the release of the minor for prayers, asserting that the indictment against the minor is severe. The prosecution also said that an indicted person released with an electronic monitoring device is a prisoner in every respect, and that prayer with a minyan is a privilege.

In response, Attorney Ben-Gvir said that prisoners are also entitled to prayer with a minyan, and that even murderers and drug dealers attend prayers in jail, and as such there is no reason not to allow the minor this right.

Ben-Gvir added that the prohibition on prayer is a blow to the Jewish principle of the state, and that there is no doubt that much weight needs to be given to the recommendation of the testing service.

In her decision, Judge Bahor accepted the request of Ben-Gvir that the minor be allowed to participate in a minyan for prayers, but limited his participation to Shabbat only. The judge said that, in the spirit of Supreme Court decisions, public prayer both for Jews and Muslims needs to be related to in a positive light.

She also said that, when the minor had been allowed to pray with a minyan for holidays in the past, he had not violated the conditions, and she asserted that freedom of religion and worship is a fundamental right that must be taken into account.

The prosecution requested to delay implementation of the decision in order to submit an appeal to the Supreme Court, but the Judge said that the prosecution had enough time to do so as is, and is allowed to submit an appeal by this Shabbat.

Attorney Ben-Gvir said in response, “The decision of the court is important and fundamental, and I am sorry that the Honorable Judge did not allow the minor to go out for prayers on every day of the week [but only on Saturdays]. If the prosecution submits an appeal, I will consider submitting a counter-appeal, as, in my opinion, the conduct of the prosecution and its refusal to let a Jewish minor in the Jewish state pray with a minyan is behavior which damages the Jewish values of the state of Israel.”