Worshippers at the tomb of Yehoshua ben Nun
Worshippers at the tomb of Yehoshua ben NunChannel 24

The Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court, as per police request, has handed out distancing orders to 13 Breslav hassidim who went to pray at the tomb of Yehoshua Ben Nun (the biblical Joshua) in the Arab village of Kfil Harat in Samaria.

The worshippers have been ordered to stay away from Judea and Samaria for 60 days, after they visited the tomb on Thursday night without coordinating first with security forces in the area.

The group was attacked by local Arabs, who threw stones at them.

IDF soldiers and Israel Police extracted the Israelis from the scene - and promptly arrested them, leaving their Arab attackers to go free.

The village is in Area B, which Israelis are allowed to enter, similar to many Arab towns in Judea and Samaria, and it is accessible by way of main roads off Highway 60 such as the Hawara roadway.

Police justified their actions by claiming that although entering the town is legal, by not coordinating with authorities so as to travel with an armed escort, the worshippers are suspected of being a "public nuisance," and of endangering their lives and the lives of public servants, the military forces who had to enter the village to extricate the Israelis.

Citing the previous week's "breach" of 60 worshippers, including Breslav hassidim, entering Shechem (Area A, closed to Israelis) to pray at Joseph's Tomb, the police wished to set an example, and distance these 13 from all of Judea-Samaria as a punishment for their "criminal activity."

Attorney Hai Habar, who is representing the Breslav pilgrims, on behalf of the legal organization Honenu, claims that no law is broken by going to pray in an area which is permitted to Israeli traffic, and that it is the IDF's responsibility to protect the worshippers, and not to surrender to the violence of the village members who decided to throw stones and riot.

Attorney Habar discovered that not a single one of the Arab rioters was arrested. A police spokeswoman claims that they didn't arrest the Arab stone-throwers, since they didn't want to "create a provocation, but to save the lives of the suspects," in her words.

Habar also pointed out that although most of the detainees were minors, one under the age of 14, police didn't call their legal guardians to represent them in court nor during investigation, and didn't otherwise respect their rights in accordance with the Youth Law.

Several of the worshippers complained of threats from the police, and one of them said a policeman threatened him with a taser gun.

Even though the police admitted that there is no law against entering the village, Justice Smadar Kolander-Abramowitz accepted the police argument, and ordered the boys to distance themselves from Judea-Samaria for 60 days.

Attorney Hai Habar: "In an unbelievable and unprecedented manner, police claim that entering Area B, which is permitted to Israeli entry, is a criminal act of creating a public nuisance, since there are Arab terrorists who throw stones and endanger the lives of citizens of Israel. Sadly, instead of protecting the worshippers, the IDF and the police decided to arrest them, and I wasn't surprised to hear in a conversation with a police representative that not one of the Arab stone throwers were arrested."

"This is a slippery slope. By tomorrow, the IDF may choose, instead of taking care of stone throwers on the highways, to arrest the Jewish travelers who drive down the main highways which are partially located inside Area B!"

He continued, "We will appeal the decision which outrageously distances the worshippers from all of Judea and Samaria. We are only left to wonder how the people of the radical left who entered [Area A] Ramallah and were attacked were not arrested, yet worshippers who entered Area B were arrested."