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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Three yeshiva heads in Samaria summoned for undefined 'investigation'

I received the following by email earlier today.
Three prominent rabbis and heads of yeshivot in Samaria were summoned to police interrogation daily, without knowing the subject of the interrogation. The Samaria Settlers' Committee: "Scare tactic and threats - just like in Soviet Russia."

The rabbis have informed the authorities in a letter that they will not be arriving at what looks like a political intimidation interrogation: "Our door is open to any investigator who comes to our offices or homes and informs us of the matter he would like to investigate us about. We do expect that in the future, it will be clear to every investigator what the required procedure is for investigating rabbis."

Uproar in the religious public and the nationalist camp over what appears to be an attempt to start a scare campaign against Samaria rabbis.
Three prominent rabbis in Samaria received in the mail about two weeks ago, letters summoning them to interrogations during the coming week at the Russian Compound police station in Jerusalem. The rabbis are: Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, the rabbi of the settlement and head of the yeshiva of Elon Moreh, who was recently chosen as the rabbi for the whole region of Samaria; Rabbi David Dudkewitz, the rabbi of Yitzhar and the head of the central kollel of the area; and Rabbi Yehoshua Schmidt, the rabbi of the settlement and head of the yeshiva of Shavei Shomron, as well as a member of the secretariat of the Samaria Rabbinical Council.

The three are rabbis of well-known, established and prominent settlements, who also serve as yeshiva heads and are known as prominent rabbis in the religious Zionist movement in particular, and in the nationalist and settlement camp in general. In many incidences, senior IDF officers, Israeli police and various security agencies meet with them in their homes, as well as many government ministers and Knesset members. At their head is the regional rabbi of Samaria, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon.

The letters were signed by a junior-level officer and without any official subject of the investigation noted.

The fact that in each of the three letters, the rabbis were summoned consecutively to interrogations - day after day, without any official subject (of interrogation) listed, and to a police station which does not belong to the Judea/Samaria police district, has led many to believe that this is the beginning of a scare-and-threaten campaign aginst settlement rabbis.

Something else that has added to the uproar are the threats made by junior police investigators against the rabbis, seemingly to scare them into appearing at the interrogations.

It was revealed that in one case, an investigator phoned one of the rabbis, shouted at him and heaped abuse and threats on him, and in addition, "improper" phone threats were directed at another rabbi in a call made by a junior officer at a Jerusalem police station that was answered by a secretary in the rabbi's office.

In the wake of these calls, the three rabbis - Rabbi Levanon, Rabbi Dudkowitz and Rabbi Schmidt - sent a letter with their signatures to the commander of the investigations department of the Israeli police, in which they declared that they have no intention of presenting themselves at what looks like a political scare-tactic investigation.

Among other things, the rabbis wrote in the letter:

"We, the undersigned, three settlement rabbis and heads of yeshivot, have received a summons to an investigation at a Jerusalem police station. We were surprised to receive the summons, signed by a sergeant, stating that we are summoned to an "interrogation" without providing any details about the matter referred to.

"Our door is open to every investigator who comes to our offices or our homes and describes what he is interested in investigating us about. We do expect that in the future, it will be clear to every investigator what the required procedure is for investigating rabbis."

In addition to the rabbis' letter, Gershon Mesika, the head of the Samarian Regional Council, sent an urgent letter to the Minister of Homeland Security, Yitzchak Aharonovitz, saying: "I was surprised to hear of the inappropriate summons to an interrogation and of the implied threat to three prominent rabbis and heads of yeshivot. This is a step which looks improper both in its essence, which looks like an attempt to impose scare tactics and political threats, and in its disrespectful format. Would a junior police officer have allowed himself, in his spare time, to summon to an investigation a district judge, an archbishop or senior Khadi in this way? I expect the honorable Minister to order an investigation of this gravely (wrong) procedure."

Chairman of the Samaria Settlers' Committee, Benny Katzover, reacted sharply to the story: "Summoning rabbis to consecutive interrogations, one day after another, is a grave step in the style of oppressive regimes we thought we forgot about; this is a transparent attempt to scare and threaten the rabbis of the settlement movement and in its wake, the whole settlement movement. No enlightened society would have agreed to such actions by the ruling powers."

MK Arye Eldad (National Union), a member of the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, announced that he will speak to the Minister of Homeland Security on the subject: "The Minister of Homeland Security must investigate whether it is standard procedure to summon public figures to an interrogation, without telling them what the interrogation is about, whether the State Prosecutor's Office ordered the summons, and if so, who else was summoned, or is this a local initiative of police investigators, and also whether this step is agreed to by the Minister of Homeland Security."

MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) also reacted sharply: "By the looks of it, this smacks of political persecution. The State is forbidden to interfere in matters of Jewish law for the Jewish people; the moment this is done, we are liable to lose the Jewish state. Great rabbis of Israel carry out their tasks, to determine Jewish law and to lead the public. The rabbis must not be deterred by grave summons such as these, and we strengthen the hands that do their jobs with dedication for all of the Jewish People."
And you all wonder why we take so lightly the prospect of having to choose between being a Jewish state and a Democratic state.

The picture at the top is Rabbi Elyakim Levanon.

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At 8:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New Shabak head.

Same as the old.

At 9:25 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Like I said, Israel's leftists can try to kill the messenger. They can't kill the message. These people in the Israeli police and prosecutor's office are like old dogs you can't teach new tricks to. And so it goes.

What could go wrong indeed


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