Israeli Court Orders Arrest of Jewish Suspect Without Trial After He Was Freed From Detention

19-year-old is suspected of hurling a rock at a Palestinian and wounding him moderately ■ He was arrested via an administrative detention order, usually used against Palestinian suspects

Right-wing activists in a protest against GSS investigations, 2015.
Moti Milrod

An Israeli court issued on Monday an administrative detention order against a 19-year-old Jewish man, using a measure that is most often leveled against Palestinian suspects. 

The man, identified as Eliya Ben-David, was released from custody earlier Monday morning and was not allowed to see a lawyer while in detention. He is currently the only Jewish Israeli jailed without trial. 

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Judge Ido Druyan Gamliel rejected the State Prosecution's appeal against a prior decision to release Ben-David and even eased the conditions set for his release.  

Ben-David, a right-wing activist, hurled a rock at a Palestinian taxi driver in November 2019 near a West Bank settlement, wounding him moderately. Following a Shin Bet security service interrogation, it was decided to issue an administrative detention order against him due to the security risk he posed. The order, signed by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, is valid for a month. 

The 19-year-old resides in the northern town of Nof Hagalil, and is the son of Rabbi Golan Ben-David who teaches Talmud there. 

The Shin Bet stated in response to the report on the administrative order: "Upon the end of the interrogation, in light of the serious security risk posed by Ben-David and in light of the Shin Bet's recommendation, an administrative detention order against him was signed." 

A security source told Haaretz that Ben-David is "violent and extreme," adding that he has recently been suspected of carrying violent acts against Palestinians.

According to the source, the administrative detention order is a preemptive measure, rather than punitive, which is employed only as a last resort.

"The security situation in the West Bank is tense and the Israeli defense establishment is operating to prevent any sort of terror activity, which might inflame the tensions and claim lives," the source said.    

Apart from Ben-David, another young Jewish man was arrested about a week ago and interrogated by the Shin Bet; he is currently detained, but not under an administrative detention order. According to rights group Addameer, 461 Palestinians are held by Israel in administrative detention.

The use of an administrative detention order, which the defense minister is required to sign, enables the arrest of a suspect without obtaining a judge's approval or presenting any information to the suspect. In 2017, a similar case took place in Israel: The Shin Bet had issued an administrative detention order against a young Jewish man, a day after the court ordered that he be released from arrest. The case was considered unusual at the time, since such an order is issued in order to arrest individuals suspected of carrying out terror attacks – and not in order to bypass court rulings. 

Attorney Adi Kedar from the right-wing Honenu organization, which is representing Ben-David, said: “The law enforcement establishment has hit a new low point. Today, the district court ordered the release of a suspect while criticizing the police and the Shin Bet. Afterwards, the police and the Shin Bet quietly and quite literally kidnapped the suspect via the administrative detention order."