Israel Police Arrest Three for Threatening Breaking the Silence Supporters

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A program involving representatives of the Breaking the Silence anti-occupation NGO, at Tel Hai Academic College in northern Israel, on May 6, 2018.
The program at Tel-Hai college involving representatives of Breaking the Silence, on Sunday.Credit: No credit

Three demonstrators in their 20s were arrested Monday for alleged violent conduct after an event at Tel-Hai Academic College involving representatives of the Breaking the Silence organization. The Israel Police said the protesters, ages 20, 27 and 28, are suspected of making threats, attempted assault and disturbing the peace following a program on Sunday involving Breaking the Silence, an anti-occupation NGO that collects testimonies from Israeli soldiers about their service in the territories.

In a video clip obtained Monday by the police, the suspects are seen obstructing the road leading out of the college, which is located north of Kiryat Shmona, throwing eggs at a car with female students apparently affiliated with the NGO, and threatening the occupants.

While no formal charges were filed following the incident, the police said they would show “zero tolerance” for any violence. However, on Tuesday afternoon a request by the police to remand the suspects in custody for five days was denied by the Magistrates Court in Kiryat Shmona. The court ordered one suspect to remain under house arrest for two days, and ordered the other two to stay away from Kiryat Shmona for 48 hours and away from the college for 16 days.  

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the lawyer representing the suspects, said his clients were arrested as a result of “political pressures.” Police on the scene saw no reason to intervene, he said, and it was only after reports appeared in the media that they decided to act.

“In any event, we have photos in our possession documenting Arabs and left-wing activists running wild and attacking, and for some reason they are not under arrest,” added Ben-Gvir, stressing that there were no grounds for his clients’ arrest.

For its part, Tel-Hai College, located north of Kiryat Shmona, issued a statement saying: “As an institution supporting freedom of expression and thought, we are pleased with and encourage the activities of our students from the entire political spectrum. The protest against Breaking the Silence is legitimate, but we regret that a handful of demonstrators chose to engage in physical and verbal violence.”

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