Police Arrest Left-wing Activist Jonathan Pollak in Haaretz Building

A right-wing organization complained that Pollak attacked soldiers during demonstrations in the West Bank, but he made a political point of not attending trials

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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

Police on Monday arrested Jonathan Pollak, a left-wing activist and employee of Haaretz, in his office at the newspaper, following a criminal complaint filed against him by the right-wing organization Ad Kan in 2018.

Undercover police officers had awaited Pollak's arrival at the paper on Monday to exercise the warrant.

Pollak's attorney Gaby Lasky requested his unconditional release, arguing that "This is an unusual matter of violating a person's liberty based on a criminal complaint procedure ... that constitutes political persecution filed by an extreme right-wing organization."

Jonathan Pollak at Hermon Prison in 2011.Credit: Yaron Kaminsky

A Tel Aviv judge ruled that he would remain in custody as he was unwilling to pay the 500 shekels ($143) bail, adding "It is understandable that this is a matter of principle, which in fact also violates my authority ... I did not find a justified explanation for his release."

Ad Kan -Young people for Israel had complained that Pollak attacked soldiers during demonstrations in Ni'lin, Nabi Saleh and Bil'in.

Pollak did not attend the hearings on the issue, prompting the court to issue a subpoena last year. About seven months ago, Ad Kan took to social media to call on the public to give it any information about Pollak's whereabouts. Pollak claimed at the time that his home address and place of employment were posted online.

Pollak has not attended the court hearings for political reasons and in June 2019, published an opinion column in Haaretz, explaining, "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."

According to the complaint against Pollak and two other demonstrators, "Starting in 2013 and to this very day, every Friday, the defendants together with other rioters unlawfully attack IDF soldiers." The complaint describes Pollak as an active participant encouraging rioters to throw rocks at security forces and confront them.

Last July, Pollak was attacked outside the Haaretz building by two unknown persons, who punched him and scratched his face with a knife. Pollak, an activist with "Anarchists Against the Wall," said they called him a "leftie" and insulted him. Ad Kan said at the time that it condemns the violence against him.

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