Israeli Court Extends Detention of Left-wing Activist Who Refuses to Recognize It

Jonathan Pollak, arrested following a complaint by right-wing group, once again refused to cooperate with the court, citing its 'part in repression of resistance to Israel's military dictatorship' in the West Bank

Aaron Rabinowitz
Aaron Rabinowitz
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Security cameras at Haaretz capture the arrest, January 6, 2020.
Security cameras at Haaretz capture the arrest, January 6, 2020.Credit: Bar Peleg
Aaron Rabinowitz
Aaron Rabinowitz

An Israeli court has extended the detention of a left-wing activist that followed a complaint by a right-wing group, citing his refusal to observe any of the judges' conditions for his release.

On Thursday Jonathan Pollak, who is also a Haaretz employee, once again refused to cooperate with the court and recognize its authority in a hearing  led by Judge Yaron Mientkavich, the deputy president of the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

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Pollak's next hearing is set for April 27, and if he refuses to post bail again, his next appearance before the judges will be in July.

He was arrested by undercover police officers in early January in his office at the newspaper, following a criminal complaint against him by the group Ad Kan in 2018.

The organization had complained that Pollak attacked soldiers at demonstrations in the West Bank towns of Ni'lin, Nabi Saleh and Bil'in, protesting Israel's separation barrier and its general policy on the Palestinians.

Pollak then told the court that he did not intend to deposit the required 500-shekel ($144) bail for his release because he refused to cooperate with the Israeli legal system.

“I don’t recognize the authority of this court to sit in judgment," Pollak told the judges. "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 did not attend the hearings on the issue, prompting the court to issue a subpoena. On social media early last year, Ad Kan called on the public to provide any information about Pollak's whereabouts. Pollak said at the time that his home address and place of employment had been posted online.

He said he did not appear before the court for political reasons and in June published an opinion column in Haaretz, where he wrote: "We must also stop cooperating with Israeli apartheid by accepting the legitimacy of the rule of law in Israel and participating in the charade of democracy. No, I won’t go."

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