Persecution

Police Brutality

The Orthodox Jewish community in Israel is under siege.
These scenes – of bloodied children, arrests and beatings of innocents, harmless and handcuffed people – are just a few of daily occurrences. 

Silencing of the Press

In every democracy, “Free Speech” is allowed. This is a simple right of expression that people have when they feel that the government or some other institution or individual has wronged them in any way, shape or form.

In every democracy, when a law is passed, everyone has the right to oppose it, often challenging it in the courts or openly protesting it in the streets or the court of public appeal.

In every democracy, “Free Press” is the inalienable right of every citizen. The press may encourage people to vocally oppose any action taken by the government if they feel that they have erred.

Israel claims to be a democracy, but they often don’t follow the rules.

Here’s the story:

The new draft law was put into place in 2014, ending a long-standing policy that exempted religious Jewish students from military service. The new law states that from 2014 until 2023 there must be a certain number of Religious Jews serving in the Army (Starting at 3000 and increasing by 300 per year) and by 2023 all religious Jews will be forced into the army. The Orthodox community has seen this law as an attack on their religious freedom, and have since then come out in protest of the law. In addition to this attack on religious freedom, the Israeli police are regularly arresting those Orthodox Jews who come out to protest the new law.

A newspaper published by the Orthodox community called the ‘Hapeles’, continuously encourages the community to come out and demonstrate against the Draft Law and to reject a law that violates religious freedom. They’ve set up several hotlines where leaders of the community give constant updates on the latest news concerning the draft law.

Israeli officials view all this and more as a disturbance of their mission to draft religious Jews into the army.

On Tuesday night, April 19, 2017, a police raid was carried out at the ‘Hapeles’ office, and the equipment necessary for its continued existence was taken. At the same time, 28 senior editors of the newspaper, including the editor-in-chief and the general manager alongside activists for the paper, were arrested.

The official allegation was suspicions of telephone harassment concerning advertisers and marketing entities. The real reason – the public and outspoken opinion of the “Hapeles” against the amended draft law, and the demonstrations on behalf of the deserters and the cancellation of the law.

Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan said in an interview that, before the raid, a meeting was held by Israel’s Attorney General with the participation of representatives of the police and the Ministry of Defense. It was agreed to seek the arrests of the workers of the “Hapeles”, charging them with financial crimes, in order to harm the newspaper and make it abandon its war against the recruitment of yeshiva students.
Closing a newspaper in Israel is almost impossible legally – because it is a violation of freedom of the press and freedom of expression. But in 2017 Israel, the law is a dead.

Hapeles

During the raid

Prisoners of Zion

Following are some of the prisoners who were subject to persecutions, arrested for minor or no charges, and sentenced with long terms.

Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Weissfish

Residence: Beth Shemesh
Status: Married with 6 Children
Occupancy: Torah Scholar
Date Arrested:

Arrest details: Rabbi Shlomo Zalman is a distinguished Rabbi, studying Torah most of his day with the rest being spent as a loving father to his 6 precious children.

Rabbi Shimon Synvoni

Residence: Beth Shemesh
Status: Married with 2 children
Occupancy: Torah Scholar
Date Arrested: 03/17/2017

Arrest details: On March 7th 2017 Rabbi Synvoni participated in an anti-draft protest, following the arrest of another Torah scholar  for not enlisting in the IDF.

Rabbi Shmuel Tapp
Residence: Beth Shemesh
Status: Married with 7 Children
Occupancy: Torah Scholar
Date Arrested: 12/17/16

Story details: On 12/17/2016 on 2:20 at night, he was woken up by strong bangs on his door, as he opened he saw a few police officers standing there, and they