Israeli Security Forces Cracking Down on Jewish Hate-crime Suspects

About 30 restraining orders are currently in place against right-wing extremists, with one Jewish activist being detained without trial

Hate graffiti written on the wall in the Arab town of Na'ura, May 2017.
Gil Eliahu

Right-wing extremists in Israel say security forces have been cracking down on them in recent weeks, particularly with regard to involvement in hate crimes.

At the beginning of June, Israel Defense Forces Central Command chief Maj. Gen. Roni Numa signed an order permitting the evacuation of the unauthorized Baladim outpost in the eastern West Bank. The outpost, which has housed a few dozen extremist settlers, is considered the most radical right-wing outpost in the West Bank.

Last week, Haaretz reported that a senior IDF officer summoned leaders from the settlement of Yitzhar, near Nablus, and warned them that the evacuation of Baladim was liable to bring a group of the young extremists to their settlement.

The settlers sought to understand what the officer wanted them to do, and they were told that “as far as the army was concerned,” the settlement could expel them, said a source.

The increased enforcement was also seen two weeks ago when two Israeli youths were arrested. They both live in Jerusalem and are suspected of involvement in hate crimes – and are still being detained in prison. The court ordered one of them released, but the next day he was rearrested after the Shin Bet security service issued an administrative detention order against him, meaning he can be detained without trial for two months. The other remains in police custody.

Both are suspected of involvement in serious and violent incidents against Palestinians, said the Shin Bet.

Seven roommates from their apartment in Jerusalem were also arrested, and they are suspected of violating restraining orders that were issued against them – for example, they are not allowed to be in contact with each other. The seven were subsequently released by the police.

However, one of the seven was rearrested last week, along with two others, on suspicion of involvement in an attempt to commit a hate crime in Jerusalem.

There are currently some 30 restraining orders in effect against right-wing Jewish activists. The restrictions include barring them from entering the West Bank or contacting other extremist activists.

These are in addition to the aforementioned administrative detention order against the Jerusalem youth, who is presently the only Jewish extremist being detained without trial.

In recent weeks, a number of hate crimes have been committed in the West Bank and Israel, including vandalism against Palestinian vehicles and property in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Shoafat and Beit Safafa, as well as in the village of Na’ura, northern Israel, and the West Bank village of Burin.

The details concerning some of these incidents are still subject to a gag order, meaning they cannot be reported in the media.