Shin Bet: Jewish Terror Suspects Are Dangerous anti-Zionists

Minors arrested in connection to murder of Aisha Mohammed Rabi were treated lawfully and legally, Shin Bet says in response to criticism

Aisha Mohammed Rabi (left); her funeral in Biddya, Oct. 13, 2018.
AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed

The Shin Bet security service rejected on Sunday claims it had violated the rights of five Jewish minors suspected of involvement in the murder of Aisha Mohammed Rabi last October, calling the criticism "a de-legitimization campaign by people with interests."

According to a Shin Bet statement, evidence points to the "anti-Zionist and extreme" nature of the suspects, as well as to the danger they pose.  

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The Shin Bet also distributed pictures of an Israeli flag with "death to Zionists" scrawled on it alongside a swastika

Five Jewish minors were arrested in recent days and are suspected of involvement in the October murder, the Shin Bet said earlier on Sunday.

Aisha Mohammed Rabi, 47, and her husband Yacoub were driving near a West Bank checkpoint south of Nablus when a group of settlers threw stones at their car. Rabi was reportedly struck in the head with a stone and died shortly after. Her husband was lightly wounded.

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The Israeli flag presented by the Shin Bet as having been vandalized by the terror suspects in the Aisha Rabi murder. January 6, 2019
Yaniv Kubovich
An Israeli flag set on fire by Jewish terror suspects, January 6, 2019.
Yaniv Kubovich

According to the Shin Bet statement, the teens are students at the "Pri Ha'aretz" yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Rehelim, which is located near the scene of the killing.

The morning after the attack, on Saturday, October 13, several far-right activists from the settlement of Yitzhar drove to Rehelim and instructed students at the yeshiva on how to deal with an upcoming Shin Bet investigation, the statement said.

The suspects' family members say the students attended the yeshiva regularly - unlike previous Jewish terror cases, where the youth involved had often dropped out of school. Several far-right operatives said they hadn't heard these boys' names before, which would mean they hadn't lived outside of the settlement, unlike those accused, for example, of the Douma arson case.

Despite being initially interrogated without an attorney present, the teens' lawyers, who met with them for the first time Saturday, said the teens told them they did not admit to being involved in the murder and denied all the allegations. The other two teens have still not met a lawyer.

One of the teens' lawyers, Adi Keidar of the right-wing Honenu legal aid group, said that the Shin Bet "puts minors in its cellars and cuts them off from the world." If it fails to extract a confession, he said, the Shin Bet arrests other teens.

"Tonight we met the minors for the first time after a week during which they were prevented from meeting a lawyer," Keidar added. "We heard things there that no citizen in Israel would [agree with, on] how young men are interrogated." Itamar Ben-Gvir, who represents another teen, echoed Keidar's sentiment. 

The organization strongly rejected claims it had "kidnapped" the suspects. Regarding the accusation that the suspects were prevented from meeting with their lawyers, Shin Bet said it can legally do so for the first six days of terror suspects' interrogation, "both Arab and Jewish." The statement also said the suspects' holding conditions were appropriate and that they did not complain to medical officials. Access to prayer equipment and rights of worship were also upheld, the statement said.

The Shin Bet earlier stated that "since the arrests, there have been efforts to slander the security service and delegitimize it. This effort should be condemned and will not stop the Shin Bet from stopping all forms of terror, Jewish or Palestinian."

The Shin Bet added that all its investigations were done under the law and were overseen by the state prosecutor and the courts. "The suspects receive all their rights under the law. the claim that their rights were withheld in violation of the law are baseless. Over the past year, the Shin Bet has prevented hundreds of terror attacks in Judea and Samaria, including Jewish terror," the Shin Bet said.

A gag-order has been placed on the publication of the names of the teens, as well as other details in the investigation.