Ze'ev and Gila Slonim, the parents of Evyatar "Avi" Slonim who was arrested in a controversial administrative detention earlier this month with no trial or evidence against him, sent a letter to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) protesting his recent statements made in a Channel 10 interview.
In the interview, Ya'alon spoke for the first time about the alleged connection between the three Jewish youths given administrative arrests in recent weeks and the lethal arson in the Arab village of Duma last month.
"We wouldn't conduct these administrative arrests if there wasn't any connection to the arson," claimed Ya'alon. "In situations like these in the state, certainly in a democracy like this, it (the state) needs to defend itself and take steps, including extreme steps."
Despite the rushed accusations of "Jewish terror," facts of the arson case cast great doubt as to whether Jews were actually involved, particularly in light of reports of a long-standing feud in the Arab town.
Ya'alon said administrative arrests – a relic from the British Mandate which allows six months of renewable detention with no trial or evidence – are "draconian" but necessary.
"I have lots of experience on it with Arab terrorists. Those who it was clear to us that they were connected to some sort of attack or series of attacks, but we couldn't bring it to evidence at a court, although we had enough intelligence information, and when we did it (the arrest) the attacks stopped. I have no doubt that in this case we arrested the right people."
"Shocked and hurt"
Slonim's parents wrote to Ya'alon in light of his comments, noting, "for a month we have been restraining ourselves from running to the media and setting off unnecessary commotions, despite the surprising draconian arrest, in light of the fact that Avi was with us on vacation in the city of Ma'alot during that week (when the arson occurred – ed.)."
"His arrest, as was explained to us at the time by enforcement sources, was a 'preventative step' as part of a general action of the legal system against those who were at any time connected to the 'hilltop youth.'
"We didn't understand why they precisely chose to arrest him from the thousands of youths, but despite that, we chose to strengthen the legal system and we restrained ourselves as long as we could, from an understanding of the need to prevent a tendencies towards inappropriate phenomenon like these (i.e. vandalism – ed.). That was a huge sacrifice for us.
"This afternoon we saw the interview you gave Channel 10 and we were left shocked and hurt by your words.
"From your words it arises that among other things our son is suspected of arson?!, which is in complete opposition to what was said to us at the time of the arrest, and what's more, which completely contradicts reality – the truth, which is that Avi was with us that night on vacation in the city of Ma'alot (in the north)!
"Aside from being slander and false, what you said pained us as parents in a way that cannot be described in words. After full cooperation with the enforcement authorities we feel betrayed. We demand an apology from you for your words and management.
"At the core of the matter, if there is any sort of suspicion (to us it isn't clear what for, in light of the fact that Avi was with us on vacation in the city of Ma'alot at the time and didn't even know what was happening until his arrest), we demand a valid trial immediately as is custom in any democratic country.
"As far as we are concerned, the interview that appears to have been meant to recruit public agreement to continue these draconian steps (a step that could be understood) crossed a red line and is completely unethical, the moment it turns into a false and slanderous media festival against our son, which harms not only him but also us.
"Shocked and hurt, we will weigh anew our silence and the full backing for the enforcement system you asked for and that we took upon ourselves."