Police check Baruch Marzel's phone
In a highly unusual action Thursday, police surrounded and raided a high-level meeting of rabbis and public leaders that was convened to develop a strategy regarding the recent wave of administrative detentions of Jewish nationalists. Police have thus far arrested arrested four participants who they say were distanced from Judea and Samaria.
The conference was convened at a public building in Nof Ayalon, in central Israel, with the participation of prominent figures like Prof. Hillel Weiss, Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, ex-MK Michael Ben Ari, Lehava leader Bentzi Gopshtain, nationalist activist Noam Federman and Attorney Itamar Ben Gvir.
Participants in the event reported that police have been erasing videos from the cellphones of participants who were recording the raid, under the pretext that there are members of the Israel Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet) present.
The head of legal aid organization Honenu, Shmuel “Zangi” Medad, who is also at the event, said that the police has “gone crazy.” “It seems that a conference against administrative detention orders is also something the police does not like. I regret to say that the police is receiving orders to operate as if there are no limits to power and no limits to resources.”
Activist Baruch Marzel said: “This is a police state, a state whose policemen come to an open public conference, surround the building, take photos and scare the participants. This is exactly what the conference was about – that this is a police state.”
14 administrative arrests of Jews
Around 2.5 weeks ago, three highly controversial administrative arrests were made against Jewish youths, and three limitation orders were issued against minors, which included full house arrest against one of them and nighttime house arrest against the other two, aside from distancing them from Judea and Samaria.
With the addition of the flurry of administrative orders this week, a full 14 administrative orders have been issued in the last 18 days, including three administrative arrests. Several of the orders are being petitioned by lawyers from Honenu.
"The system is under unprecedented pressure and is acting with unacceptable means against residents who are settling the land," said Honenu in a statement.
"We are witnesses to a dramatic increase in the severity and scope of the issuing of administrative orders, something which severely harms the rights of those receiving the orders."
Administrative orders, a relic from the British mandate, do not require a trial or any evidence, and can be renewed every six months. The orders have almost exclusively been used against Arab terrorists until now.