Parents of 12-year-old Protester Left Her Jailed for Weeks

State: Parents of underage activists arrested for road blockages may lose guardianship.

Zvi Zerahia Haaretz Service
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Zvi Zerahia Haaretz Service

The parents of a 12-year-old girl arrested while allegdly blocking a highway in anti-disengagement protests last month failed to contact her for 20 days, until authorities let it be known that the child could be handed over to foster care if they did not come forward, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.

It said the case, in which the girl refused to divulge her identity and her parents, apparently in support of her, refrained from contacting her, sparked government consideration of applying the Juvenile Law against parents of minors who have been arrested repeatedly for blocking highways.

A senior source at the State Prosecution confirmed Tuesday that officials were weighing such a move, which would allow courts to monitor parental supervision of their children and in extreme cases to strip the parents off their guardianship.

Most of the 409 activists arrested three weeks ago in a day of mass highway blockages across Israel were minors. Out of the 14 activists still in custody, seven are minors.

Throughout their arrest many minors refused to identify themselves to authorities. Five of the last female minors to remain in custody who refused to disclose their identity finally consented to give their names early this week, but have not yet been released due to their refusal to sign on the restrictive conditions of their release.

Senior officials at the State Prosecution held two meetings with welfare authority officials in order to examine the possibility of using the Juvenile Law against minors whose parents do not prevent them or systematically encourage them to engage in blocking highways. Should such an interpretation of the Juvenile Law be employed those parents would be considered to have encouraged their children to engage in criminal activity.

Under such circumstances welfare workers would be able to request the court to employ various measures, the harshest of which is stripping the minor's parents off their guardianship. This measure is reserved for extreme cases only however.

The court may also monitor and instruct parental supervision of such minors.

According to a senior prosecution official, it is state policy to object to the release of any suspect refusing to identify to the authorities while solid evidence tie them to criminal offences.

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