Right Wing Teens Reenact Torture to Protest Shin Bet Tactics in Tel Aviv Square

Led by right-wing activist Zvi Sukkot, a group of teens reenacted the Shin Bet's alleged torture of Jewish prisoners suspected of committing the Duma arson attack.

Roy (Chicky) Arad
Roy Arad
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One Orthodox right-wing teen is tethered to a metal bed frame with his face covered by a black scarf as part of a protest against the Shin Bet torturing Jewish prisoners, Tel Aviv, December 23, 2015.
One Orthodox right-wing teen is tethered to a metal bed frame with his face covered by a black scarf as part of a protest against the Shin Bet torturing Jewish prisoners, Tel Aviv, December 23, 2015.Credit: Moti Milrod
Roy (Chicky) Arad
Roy Arad

A group of Orthodox teenage settlers gathered in Tel Aviv's Habima Square Wednesday to protest the interrogation tactics being employed by the Shin Bet against the suspected Duma arsons, whose attack led to the death of three members of the Dawabsheh family this summer.  

The group, led by right-wing activist Zvi Sukkot of the Yitzhar settlement, gathered to garner support for their cause against the Shin Bet's interrogation methods from the traditionally left-wing citizens of Tel Aviv, who were generally surprised by their presence.

Speaking to journalists in the square – who outnumbered the protesters – Sukkot explained that the group came to demonstrate against "what their brothers are experiencing" at the hands of the Shin Bet.  

One of the boys was chained to a metal bed frame, his face hidden by a black scarf, while two others repeatedly beat him, shouting "confess." The bound boy shouted, "let me go, I confess, I murdered Arlozorov, and I'll re-enact Rabin's murder."

Another one of the teens, Menachem, repeatedly hummed the song "a Jew doesn't torture another Jew," as locals walked by.

Local reactions to the protest were split. While some walked by without a second glance, others engaged with the teenagers. One woman was offended by the t-shirt of the boy chained to the metal bed, a red one reading "Jews love Jews" in yellow letters. "Not all Jews are brothers. Jews who spit on policemen are not my brothers," she expressed passionately.

The reenactment was a precursor to Sukkot forcefully addressing the passersby through a megaphone: "As you rush off to your affairs," he said, "your brothers are being tortured sadistically in the Shin Bet cellars snap out of your indifference, Tel Avivians!"

"Jews have never been tortured this way," he continued, and there is "no reason for someone to torture someone else."

Responding to questions about Israeli torture of Palestinian prisoners, Sukkot initially differentiated between Jews and Arabs. "If Jews do something it's at most a response to murder," he said. "They've been attacking us for 100 years. The riots of 1929 didn't happen because of Duma."

After being pressed, however, Sukkot admitted that the recent torture of the suspected Jewish arsons has made him rethink his position on Arab torture. Torture is "irrational," he said, "because it makes people admit what they didn't do."

Presumably, a few hundred Palestinians are rotting in Israeli prison after confessing to crimes they never committed. Some leftists object to torturing Palestinians to garner confessions, but have remained palpably silent regarding torturing Jewish terrorists.

"Netanyahu is much more fascist toward Jews than the leftists are," Sukkot declared, adding that right-wing activists are considering creating a joint committee with left-wing human rights groups against torture, a move that would be unprecedented given the animosity between the polar opposite organizations.

Ironically, the left's human rights activism to eliminate prisoner torture could be the exact salvation that the far right needs to eliminate brutal interrogation tactics against Jews.

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