Pri Haaretz yeshiva

Police expand Jewish terror probe, summon 30 more yeshiva students

Jewish seminary in West Bank at center of probe into murder of Palestinian mother of nine in October; suspects' lawyers accuse authorities of 'illegal conduct'.

Israel Police on Wednesday summoned another 30 students at the Pri Haaretz yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Rehelim for questioning over the murder of a Palestinian woman last year. Police believe that the death of Aisha al-Rawbi in October 2018 is linked to five members of the yeshiva who are currently in custody.



Police initially handed out the summons in private, but then went on to leave the rest with the yeshiva counselors.


Aisha al-Rawbi, a 47-year-old mother of nine, was killed when a rock thrown at the vehicle in which she, her husband and nine-year-old daughter were travelling hit her on the head.


Pri Haaretz yeshiva
Pri Haaretz yeshiva


The Honenu organization, which provides legal aid to Jewish terror suspects, claimed that the police carried out what is said was "illegal activity."


"The police entered the yeshiva illegally, without a warrant permitting them to enter private property, and were later warned by the yeshiva staff that their entrance was illegal and harmful to the students' learning," the organization said in a statement.


"The police should make a decision; at the moment there are five youths in interrogation rooms—are they are no longer suspects?" Honenu added. "Is it possible that 80 children threw one stone? The police are operating illegally. (Public Security) Minister Gilad Erdan must wake up and end the trampling of the rights of children in educational institutions."


Police have already questioned around 30 other youths who attend the yeshiva on suspicion of throwing stones at the vehicle in which al-Rawbi was driving. The five suspects held by police will remain in custody at least until Thursday.


Aisha al-Rawbi was killed when a rock went through the window of her car and hit her on the head.
Aisha al-Rawbi was killed when a rock went through the window of her car and hit her on the head.


Meanwhile, the lawyers of two of the five youths boycotted a remand hearing at Lod District Court, after the boys were not brought to the court and their lawyers were not informed of this.


Adi Keidar, an attorney with Honenu, accused the police of consistently violating the law.


"We take a severe view of illegal police conduct," he said. "We made it clear to them that entring private property area and residences can be done by warrant only. Despite this warning, police broke into the yeshiva. One should remember that the students are already frightened by the (police) conduct of the past two months, and we expect that this will be investigated immediately by the Police Internal Investigations Department. "


Itamar Ben-Gvir, an attorney for some of the suspects, also lashed out at the police.


"The arrival of police officers to hand out summons at an educational institutions is a new low in the conduct of the police and the Shin Bet (domestic security service) in this case," he said.


On Tuesday, the heads of the yeshiva, Rabbis David Ben Natan and Yehuda Liebman, sent a letter to parents and students in which they accused the Shin Bet of cruelty to youths and of a vicious attack on their institution.The two claimed that they had fully cooperated the defense establishment, including a meeting with heads of the Jewish Department, and encouraged the students and their parents to do so, but that the Shin Bet had exploited this cooperation.


The father of one of the suspects told Ynet on Tuesday that he has no doubt that the Shin Bet was harassing the detainees.


"Let's say that some children committed an act that requires an educational response, and for this they are being tortured?," he said. "For this they have tied a child to a chair for 12-14 hours in a row and screamed into his ears? They tell him things he is incapable of hearing and break his soul? Because he scribbled on a flag?"


The father was referring to a video that the five suspects made of themselves burning the Israeli flag, which was released to the public earlier this week. Security forces also confiscated Israeli flags daubed with Nazi slogans from the home of one of the detainees.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement of support for the Shin Bet on Tuesday, in apparent answer to complaints against the agency by the families of the five minors.


"Several hours ago, we caught the murderer from Givat Assaf and Ofra," Netanyahu said, referring to the successful conclusion of a massive manhunt in the West Bank. "For this operation, I praise Yamam (Israel Police special forces), the IDF and first and foremost the Shin Bet, which is the best counter-terrorism organization of its kind in the world. We owe it a great deal, it performs professionally and morally. There is no room to attack it."


פרסום ראשון: 01.09.19, 17:53
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