Israel Police Arrests Three Youths Over Hate Crimes in Arab Town

Suspects, all learn at the same yeshiva high school in the settlement of Yitzhar.

Gush Halav Jish
One of the 40 vehicles with slashed tires in Gush Halav (Jish). Eli Ashkenazi

The Judea and Samaria District Police announced Thursday that they have arrested three youths this month on suspicion of committing a hate crime in the northern Israeli town of Gush Halav, also known as Jish.

The suspects, all students of the Dorshei Yichudcha yeshiva high school are two 17-year-olds and one 16-year-old.

The police noted they searched the suspects' homes and seized several weapons and other means of committing nationalist acts. They added they collected evidence during their investigation tying the suspects to the vandalism committed in Jish in April, when the tires of 40 cars were slashed and anti-Arab graffiti was sprayed on town walls.

The Haifa District prosecutor's office announced Thursday its intention to file indictments for vandalism against the three. The Nazareth Magistrate's Court extended the youths' remand another five days on Thursday.

Honenu, a nationalist legal aid organization representing the three, denied the charges made against its clients. The three are exercising their right to remain silent.

"The evidence against them is circumstantial at best, and its legal value has yet to be made clear," the NGO stated. At the same time an attorney for Honenu filed a complaint with the Shin Bet ombudsman, asserting that "Shin Bet investigators are abusing the arrestees, who are kept in the Shin Bet basements and are being investigated for "price tag" incidents, referring to the popular term for nationalist attacks on Arab targets.