Karnit Avidev
Karnit Avidevpicture used with permission of photographer

The police have closed their criminal case against Karnit Avidev, a resident of Afula who was investigated by the police for turning on loudspeakers every Friday afternoon to play Shabbat songs for two minutes.

Following the publication of the case by Israel National News - Arutz Sheva and the contacting of the police by attorney Michael Litwok from the Betzalmo organization, a qualified investigative officer from the police station in Afula examined the case, found that there was no criminal offense in Avidev's actions and ordered the criminal case be closed.

Betzalmo CEO Shai Glick reacted to the development: "I congratulate the Israel Police for closing the case," he said. "I hope that this case will serve as a warning sign to all the mayors, inspectors and policemen who harass Jews who just want to enjoy Shabbat. We will continue to represent the human rights of the citizens of Israel."

Avidev was investigated for playing music on loudspeakers in the minutes leading up to the start of Shabbat every Friday.

The speakers are customarily turned on in the minutes preceding the start of Shabbat in dozens of cities across Israel.

Three weeks ago, shortly after the performance of the Shabbat songs in Afula, police officers from the Afula police station showed up at the entrance to her home, threatened to confiscate her property and even summoned her for questioning.

The questioning took place during the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz, when Jewish law prohibits eating and drinking.

"At first I was with the station officer who brought a haredi policeman and together they played the 'good cop, bad cop' game," Aivdev told Israel National News- Arutz Sheva. "The haredi policeman tried to talk about my conscience of how I can sleep at night when I don't fulfill the commandment to beautify the Shabbat and I don't respect my neighbors. And he dug into me a lot on the subject."

"After an hour of hearings, I was taken in for questioning by a criminal investigator," she said. "I waited for almost an hour and a half and then the interrogator started with questions liked: Do you understand the meaning of your offense? Why didn't you turn it off? And all sorts of silly questions that were unrelated. From there they proceeded to the opening of a criminal case. Although I repeatedly said that if the police officer requires me to turn it off until I have a permit and a court order this is what I will do, they still claimed that it is an order from above and there is nothing they can do. When I raised the issue of the muezzin which wakes me up every night at ridiculous hours, he said that everything related to that issue is out of their purview but is under the authority of the Supreme Court."

"I left the market and I never stopped crying," she added. "I am a law-abiding person and raise my children to love police officers and respect the law at a very high level. I am a returning resident after 15 years in the US, a social activist in Afula and the founder of the Yishai congregation in Afula. People have donated all the money to me for the speakers and are now donating money to me to fight and claim my rights and clear my name. As of yesterday, residents have been playing music from 4pm for an hour or two of Shabbat songs and religious songs. And I'm talking about non-religious people."

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