In a rare move, the leadership of Kokhav Hashahar in Samaria and the town's Rabbi Ohad Krakover issued an open letter on Wednesday, protesting the severe breaches of the basic rights of Jewish youths being investigated for vague suspicions of involvement in the lethal Duma arson in July.
The letter, addressed to the public and to the heads of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, addresses how the suspects have been refused basic religious rights such as lighting Hanukkah candles, been banned from seeing their lawyers or family, and several have been denied medical treatment after being beaten during arrest.
Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) last Friday admitted there is no evidence to try the suspects.
Limitations of the media gag order against the suspects are of such a nature that once the details are given permission to be published, residents of the region and Israeli citizens in general will be shocked, argues the letter.
"Last week we discovered amid sorrow and feelings of deep frustration that in the democratic state of Israel it is possible to conduct serious acts against normal citizens under the cover of the legal authorities," wrote the Kokhav Hashahar leadership.
"The media gag order on the case prevents us from detailing things, but we cannot be silent in the face of the injustice occurring before our eyes.
"It became clear to us that in our state a law-abiding citizen, a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence (for IDF soldiers - ed.), who serves in the reserves and donates to society - a valued educational figure who works in youth activities and educates to love the state - could find himself thrown in the basement of the Shabak (Israel Security Agency - ed.) without even minimal conditions, without having committed any crime and with no suspicions against him."
"Red lines crossed"
"This is severe harassment, this is a crossing of red lines, in a state that pretends to be democratic and to defend the rights of the individual without any discrimination of religion, gender or personal viewpoint.
"Representatives of the law are abusing for no reason someone who even they know isn't connected to the incident they are investigating. They also know that he doesn't believe in violence as a means of solving problems, and certainly wasn't connected to something along those lines, and as a pressure tool - against whom? - they are extending his arrest again and again.
"We were particularly shocked to hear that our friend's tefillin (phylacteries - ed.) were taken from him. This is the conduct of dark regimes. In these days it is hard not to recall the dictates of the evil Greek kingdom against performing the divine mitzvot (commandments - ed.)," added the letter, noting on the Hanukkah holiday.
"We feel a serious blow to the confidence that we wanted to give the law and justice authorities, and the security system, which are supposed to protect and defend us as citizens in our own state.
"Any one of us could find themselves one day in a similar situation! This treatment makes our blood permissible, and the degrading conditions of the arrest only emphasize that.
"As a community and as a loyal public we will not be able to accept that the law authorities systematically harm us. The damage in the long term is clear, we must not let this thing happen!"