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Monday, March 17, 2008

Israeli 'justice's double standard

Thirty MK's today petitioned President Shimon Peres to pardon former MK Omri Sharon, who was convicted of criminal violations of Israel's election laws, so that he Sharon could return to the bedside of his father Ariel Sharon - the beneficiary of Omri's crimes - who has been comatose for two years. But 18-year old Tzviya Sariel, whose only 'crime' is wanting to live under a Jewish justice system, remains in jail without charges for three and one half months.
Deputy Foreign Minister Majalli Whbee told Ynet on Monday that he has signed 30 fellow Knesset members on a petition calling on President Shimon Peres to pardon Omri Sharon.

The request cites the medical condition of the former Likud MK's father, former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, as the main argument for the clemency request.

About three weeks ago Omri Sharon began serving a seven-month jail sentence for lying under oath, filing false affidavits, and violating campaign laws. Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke in early 2006 and has remained comatose ever since.

"We are not underestimating the severity of Sharon's actions, but we believe that due to the fact that no one has ever been tried for a similar offense, and in light of the medical condition of Ariel Sharon, who has been comatose for over two years, his sentence must me reduced so he may be at his father's side," the MKs said in the petition. [No one has ever been tried for lying under oath? You've got to be kidding! CiJ]

"Omri Sharon's absence may cause his father to lose hope and may consequently shorten his life."
But Sariel's story cannot even make it into places like YNet, which are part of Israel's mainstream media:
18 former Prisoners of Zion are trying to get Tzivya Sariel freed from prison. The teenager has been imprisoned for three and a half months, because she refuses to recognize the right of a non-Torah legal system to prevent Jews from exercising their national rights in the Land of Israel.

Among the refuseniks who have come out publicly demanding 18-year-old Tzviyah's release are Ida Nudel, Yosef Mendlevitch, Silva Zalmanson, Natan Anatoly Altman,and Yosef Begun. In a letter to government ministers, they write that Tzviya's arrest is meant simply to humiliate her and deter others who agree with her.

The letter is addressed to Prime Minister Olmert, Justice Minister Friedmann, Defense Minister Barak, Trade Minister Eli Yihai and Public Security Minister Avi Dichter. "Unlike in the totalitarian regime against which we stood in the Soviet Union," the letter states, "a democratic state is supposed to strive not to oppress its citizens, but rather to work with them."


The case, about which Sanhedrin judge Rabbi Yisrael Ariel said, "Every day and every hour that Tzvia Sariel spends behind bars is a wrongdoing to this girl," has received remarkably little media interest. At least two journalists from mainstream media, both print and electronic, have said off the record that their lack of coverage is no coincidence, and that they have no interest in showing support for someone who professes to oppose the State.

Tzviya Sariel was arrested in December on charges of pushing an elderly Arab who entered her town to pick olives. The alleged victim said in the last secular court hearing that he withdraws his charges and wishes to live only in peace - but Tzviya, in explicably, remains in the N'vei Tirtzah women's prison.
'Justice,' Israeli style. It sure isn't blind.


At 12:04 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Tzviya Sariel remains locked up for having committed no crime. Yet Israeli politicians are falling all over themselves to get convicted felon Omri Sharon pardoned. Its been clear for a long time there are two justice systems in Israel: one for the Left and one for the Jews.

No wonder increasing numbers of Jews don't accept the legitimacy of the secular court system and its wanton disregard of elementary principles of justice and fair treatment under the law.

There's no rule of law in Israel.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

You cannot just reject Israel's court system and not feel bound by its laws.

This is the background of Tziya's case. I am sorry for her and I suspect that with more good will a flexible approach would have set her free a long time ago.

At the same time I think she is wrong, completely wrong. You do not like the way Israel looks like? Try to convince a majority and get things changed. Want to use civil disobidience as a tool? Fine but check whether you are willing to pay the price. There is no way that you can pick what you like about a state and just reject the rest.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Michael Travis said...

We do not have a "Justice system"....we have institutionalised corruption and a collection of incredibly stupid judges and legislators.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger Michael Travis said...

"There is no way that you can pick what you like about a state and just reject the rest."

That would be called a healthy, representative democracy. What you suggest is the the good ol' Histadrut-Unkle Josef system.


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