'I Don't Recognize the Authority of This Court': Israeli Activist, Arrested for Anti-occupation Protests, Asks to Stay Jailed

Jonathan Pollak, a Haaretz employee, says transferring him between prison and court doesn't allow Prison Service to provide him food or medical care

Left-wing activist and Haaretz employee Jonathan Pollak arrives at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, January 2019.
Oren Ben Hakun

An Israeli court decided to extend on Thursday the detention of Jonathan Pollak, a left-wing activist and employee of Haaretz.

On Monday, undercover police officers arrested Pollak in his office at the newspaper, following a criminal complaint filed against him by the right-wing organization Ad Kan in 2018.

The organization had complained that Pollak attacked soldiers during demonstrations in Ni'lin, Nabi Saleh and Bil'in. 

According to the complaint against Pollak and two other demonstrators, "Starting in 2013 and to this very day, every Friday, the defendants together with other rioters unlawfully attack IDF soldiers." The complaint describes Pollak as an active participant encouraging rioters to throw rocks at security forces and confront them.

Initially, Jerusalem Magistrate's Court Judge Bialin Elazar decided that Pollak would remain in custody for only 24 hours, but the activist requested to remain in detention until Wednesday.

Pollak said that transferring him between prison and the court does not allow the Israel Prison Service to provide him with food or medical examinations. “I haven’t eaten for three days,” he said, asking to extend his detention without a time limit.

“I don’t recognize the authority of this court to sit in judgment. The court has taken on itself the right to be part of the repression of the resistance to the military dictatorship that Israel is running in the territories,” Pollak told the court during his hearing.

Pollak's attorney Gaby Lasky said during his client's hearing that the “entire proceeding is improper and the court must examine it. There is no possibility of denying a person’s freedom based on an improper proceeding.”

Earlier this week, Pollak told the court that he does not intend on depositing the required 500 shekel ($144) bail for his release, because he refuses to cooperate with the Israeli legal system.

Last July, Pollak was attacked outside the Haaretz building by two unknown persons, who punched him and scratched his face with a knife. Pollak, an activist with "Anarchists Against the Wall," said they called him a "leftie" and insulted him. Ad Kan said at the time that it condemns the violence against him.