Jews Arrested in Police Entrapment Denied Shavuot Prayers

Three residents of the Binyamin town of Kokhav Hashahar who were arrested in a controversial police entrapment case have been denied their request to be let out to pray in synagogue for the Shavuot holiday next Sunday by the Jerusalem District Court.

The three are still in full house arrest a month after their arrest, which occurred when a police officer disguised as an Arab brought a group of local Arab residents to an area adjacent to Kokhav Hashahar, causing the residents to confront them in reaction to the potential security threat of an attack or the planning of an attack on the town.

A request to be allowed out of house arrest to join the holiday prayers was submitted by the three via Attorney Rehavia Piltz of the Honenu legal aid organization.

The state attorney opposed the request, and even though the precedent rulings of various courts – including the Supreme Court – allowing Arabs out to take part in Ramadan prayers under similar circumstances were presented, the district court judge refused to allow the Jewish men to take part in Shavuot prayers.

"It's a shame that the court didn't hold an urgent discussion about going out for prayers in a minyan (prayer quorum of ten Jewish men – ed.) for those requesting," said Attorney Piltz.

He added, "it is very saddening that the judges don't understand the great importance for a Jew to pray in a minyan, particularly on the Shavuot holiday in which the Jewish nation celebrates the giving of the Torah in which all of Israel together heard the ten commandments."

In the confrontation when the three were arrested, Honenu pointed to video evidence showing how police threatened the three. Police misconduct was also charged given that the taped video evidence of the threats was cut off short by the police contrary to procedure, and one of the three accused police of beating him – a charge which was given backing by other residents. 

Likewise, the officer who was disguised as an Arab and whose testimony is the basis of the entire case reportedly tampered with evidence, destroying a note describing the events and later writing a different report.


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