Israeli Judge Raps Shin Bet for Violating Gag Order and Releasing Right-wing Extremist's Photo

The release of the picture appears to be an attempt by the security service to justify the restraining order against a man suspected of throwing stones

Yitzhar resident Elkana Pikar, right, in 2014.
Michal Fattal

A military appeals court judge, Ronen Atzmon, has chided the Shin Bet security service for violating a gag order by providing the media a picture of a West Bank settler who had been barred from the West Bank.

Ronen said the gag order barred the release of evidence in the case of Elkana Pikar, a resident of Yitzhar. The picture in question, in which a man thought to be Pikar is throwing stones with his face masked, appeared in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth. It was released on June 9.

The release of the photo, which had been presented as evidence against Pikar, appeared to be an attempt by the Shin Bet to show the public why the restraining order was necessary.

Pikar’s lawyer, Menashe Yadoo of the right-wing legal-aid group Honenu, asked the court to halt the disclosure of evidence from his client’s case.

The prosecution said it would continue to act in accordance with the law, but Judge Atzmon said it was not clear if this meant the prosecution was committing not to release photos from the case. Atzmon said any release of photos required court approval after Pikar had voiced his opinion on the matter.

In May, the phrase "King Pikar" was scrawled on a car, one of  20 vehicles  vandalized in East Jerusalem in what the police suspected was an anti-Arab hate crime and a response to the restraining order against Pikar.