Orange Humanist

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Kids in Jail - Update

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your support and encouragement of our efforts to free Chaya. We have been flooded with mail and phone calls expressing outrage and offering help. Please forgive us if we didn't reply to you individually, there's just no time.

We would like to update you on our work in this struggle.

We realize many of you may not have the time to read this entire email, so we will summarize it first and then add more detail below for those interested. We strongly suggest you read on and find out what is REALLY happening in Israel today.

A. Legal Lowlights:

Chaya's case is now being used as a legal precedent to incarcerate other protesters, including children, until the end of their legal proceedings. Thus it is now more vital than ever to fight Chaya's case and challenge this horrifying state of affairs.

1) 2 other young girls join us in the case.

2) After a month in jail, the girls are still considered a "danger to public peace".

3) Freedom of speech in " the only democracy in the Middle East"? Think again!

4) The Probation Service and the Prosecution proposed the girls be released into a kibbutz. When they argued that this might entail compromising their religious beliefs - the prosecutor insisted they would have to choose between leaving the prison and compromising. It would be "educational" for them, she argued. No, I am NOT making this up!

BE. PR Highlights:

1) Attendance at a special meeting with the Knesset Committee. Members outraged at the situation.

2) Posters put up in Jerusalem, Yehudah and the Shomron to protest the injustice - see link below.

3) Rounds of TV, radio, and newspaper interviews conducted in Israel.

4) Formation of The Committee for the Prisoners of Zion in Zion.

5) Petitions.

More Detailed Accounts:

News from the legal front

We have started the second round in the legal battle. In this round, parents of two other girls - Moriah Goldberg age 13 (!!!) and Pnina Ashkenazi age 16 - have decided to join our case. Moriah and Pnina were arrested at the same demonstration, and were jailed at the same time as Chaya.

Our goal in this round of proceedings is to get a wider panel of judges to hear our case in the Supreme Court. We have filed another appeal to the lower court, claiming that a month in prison was enough of a "lesson" to insure that the girls will not return to road-blocking activities again. We asked the court to release them into our custody under full house arrest. We brought in precedents from the Supreme Court decisions where the Supreme Court released rapists, armed robbers and drug dealers to house arrest - even those who were re-arrested for repeating similar crimes WHILE THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO BE UNDER HOUSE ARREST. The judge refused our petition, claiming that the "danger to public peace" would be too great if the girls are released. Rape, armed robbery and drugs apparently are less dangerous to public peace than standing on the sidewalk to protest!! Here are some "gems" from the court protocol:

1. Here are the words of the state prosecutor Ms.Karni Davis, explaining the reasons for keeping these dangerous to public criminals behind bars: "If this court releases the accused to their village to complete house arrest, even if they learned their lesson, and even if they adhere to the house arrest - this is not enough. These girls will continue their protest from home. The prosecution believes that if the girls are released back to their villages, they will talk to other people there, tell them their stories and cause other people to participate in similar demonstrations. Therefore, the danger to public peace still exists, even if they are under full house arrest."

This, from the mouth of a State prosecutor in the only democracy in the Middle East. It is now illegal to talk. No, I am not making this up - it is a direct quote from the protocol of the court from 27.07.2005 proceeding #000917/05 in the case # 001487/05 in Tel Aviv youth court.

2. It doesn't end there. It gets better. Probation services and the prosecution proposed a "humane" solution to release the girls from prison. "We can arrange for them to go to a kibbutz". The girls turned down this offer. When asked by the judge why, they explained that the kibbutz would be very far from home, so they would rarely see their families. No less important, the religious level of most of the religious kibbutzim is not at the level they keep. Here is the State prosecutor's response: "The accused have to decide between remaining in Maasiyahu prison or being in the kibbutz. I am certain they will choose the kibbutz, even if this means that they'll have to exercise more caution regarding the fulfillment of their religious needs. THIS WILL NOT CAUSE DAMAGE. ON THE CONTRARY, IT WILL BE EDUCATIONAL".

What the prosecutor is telling 13 year old Moriah and 14 year old Chaya and the world, is that if they want to leave prison soon - they have to be ready to compromise on their religious observance!!!

When I heard this, I could not sit quietly anymore. I got up and shouted that I couldn't believe my ears! "In Communist Russia in 1930's the State took away the children of the "enemies of the People" for "re-education". I cannot believe the State of Israel is doing the same in 2005!" Well, the judge ordered me removed from the courtroom.

If you find all of this hard to believe - I'll be happy to fax you the Hebrew original. We are working on setting up a site where we will post all the legal documents relating to the case.

News regarding the public awareness campaign

1. We participated in a special session of the Knesset Committee for the Protection of Children in Israel. Members of the committee, from MK Gila Finkelstein (Mafdal) on the right to MK Ran Cohen (Meretz) on the left were visibly shaken by both the legal absurdity of this case and by the treatment of the girls inside the prison. MK Ran Cohen said that if they were not released by the end of the week, the entire committee - 5 MKs - will visit the prison once a week. MK Gila Finkelstein was outraged by the obvious discrimination against the girls. She demanded an explanation from the police representative as to why a 14 year old is in prison, while not one member of the Histadrut, who block the roads to get salary increases, are ever arrested. She promised to visit the girls on Thursday, July 28. After the session we approached a number of MKs who agreed to sign the petition demanding the girls' release.

2. We pasted 500 posters throughout Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem. The posters, entitled "Sharon can sleep peacefully - the enemies of the Nation are behind bars", include pictures, a brief summary of the legal proceedings and a request for help to continue the struggle. We would like to raise $ 3,000 to conduct the next stage of poster campaign throughout Israel. You can see the poster at

3. We have appeared on numerous TV and radio stations in Israel, bringing the plight of our girls into the public eye and explaining the threat every citizen of Israel faces following the legal precedent set in this case. The case generated a strong response from both right and left, including lawyers for 'Peace Now" who condemned the arrest.

4. We have spoken to a number of other parents whose children are held in jail for similar "crimes" and an idea was born to form a committee that would represent all of us, in front of both the public and the state systems. The response was favorable, and the initial meeting of all the parents will be called for very soon.

5. We will send out a petition demanding the release of the girls. The petition should be faxed to all of the Supreme Court judges. We want to flood them with petitions and send them a message that the public is troubled by the abuse of the basic human right that this case represents. Stay tuned for this e-mail.

We will continue our struggle for the freedom of our children, and we need your help desperately. Please send your contributions to:

Moshe Belogorodsky
House # 310
Shilo 44830

For tax-deductible contributions please send your checks to

Am Yisrael Chai Foundation ( please mark on the check "freedom for Chaya")
6 Hazel Place
Woodmere, N.Y. 11598

Thru the mesirut nefesh of these girls may we speed the Redemption of the Jewish People.


  • At August 05, 2005 7:15 AM, Blogger Avi Green said…

    I think there's an interesting point that could made here in regards to the court's "threat" to try and send the kids to a kibbutz based custodian:

    Whereever you go in Israel, there are sensible kibbutz residents today who'd find the idea embarrassing, no matter their positions, and if they found out that say, the custodians were treating the kids like trash, they'd do whatever they could to stop them. That's probably also one of the reasons why the whole idea of dormitories for the children of the residents wore off by the 1960s.

    I don't think there's that many kibbutz managements who'd want to allow something like that on their premises, because these days, it doesn't take long for these things to be found out, and if they allowed it, they'd be risking a boycott by external members of the public, and it could end up harming even their own businesses, such as factories and stores. I was once on a tour trip with a social group that went to eat lunch at a kibbutz dining hall(it was simply delicious what we ate there), and many kibbutzes need to make money not just from local residents, but from external visitors as well, including tourists and passers-by, and if they were to let something like a forced custody matter take place on their property, it could end up embarrassing their reputation, even with the local residents.

    I thought about this just yesterday while travelling on a bus, and I realized that the idea really does have holes in it, big or small. So when it comes to the country's kibbutzes, there may not be all that much need for concern. But when it comes to the court, there most certainly is.


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