What does it take for the court to release a civilian prisoner for a few hours for humanitarian reasons? In the case of the prisoners from the settlement of Immanuel, not even a wife's miscarriage sufficed.
Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Bar-Lev, the rabbi of Immanuel, is currently serving a two-week sentence for contempt of court, along with the fathers of the girls from the "Hasidic track" at Immanuel's Beit Yaakov school.
Bar-Lev's lawyer, Moshe Morgenstern, submitted an urgent request Monday night to the court to allow his client an immediate furlough until 10 A.M. the next day so he could be with his wife, Bracha Bar-Lev. She had been taken to the hospital with serous bleeding and had miscarried in her third month of pregnancy.
Morgenstern attached a report from Maayanei Hayeshua Hospital in Bnei Brak, attesting to the wife's condition and the need for an immediate medical procedure under full anesthesia.
Bar-Lev's attorney said that from a number of phone conversations with the offices of the High Court of Justice, he knew the request had been received at 11:30 P.M. Morgenstern was told that the duty judge, Justice Neal Hendel had not yet made a decision on the matter.
The court's first response to Bar-Lev's request arrived yesterday at 2 P.M.: The original panel on the case, headed by Justice Edmond Levy, wrote that it had only received the request yesterday morning, and since the requested furlough was until 10 A.M. yesterday morning, it was no longer relevant.
In an unofficial response, court offices said Morgenstern should have gone to the Israel Prison Service, "which is supposed to handle such emergencies. There were many people involved in this case who needed to get out, and they were released - by the Prison Service. To come to us and complain that we did not get the duty judge out of bed is a bit unfair."
Morgenstern mistakenly went to the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court first, and only later was told by the state's representative in the Immanuel case, Shosh Shmueli, that he should approach the High Court.
According to Morgenstern, "The court is lying. Why would Shosh Shmueli, the prosecution's representative, tell us to go to the High Court? We spoke to them and they told us to wait. They did not say no, and they said nothing about the Prison Service."
Yesterday the Israel Prison Service released two other prisoners for a number of hours so they could take part in a family celebration.
One prisoner, the father of the bride, was named as Shmuel Naimi; the other is the bride's brother, Yitzhak Naimi. Both were released for seven hours without any difficulties.
A relative noted that the bride, of Yemenite origin, was marrying into an Ashkenazi-Hasidic family.
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