Holon Institute of Technology - Diana Dolev’s
colleagues at “New Profile” get arrested for incitement to “evade
military service” and to “obtain an exemption by deceit”; complain
about treatment usually reserved for “settlers”
Police acted improperly in probing our activists
Dan Izenberg , THE JERUSALEM POST
Apr. 27, 2009
Attorney Smadar Ben-Natan on Monday said
police had acted improperly and "had done things they never should
have" during their searches and detention of seven suspects,
including six activists from the New Profile organization on Sunday.
According to New Profile, police searched
the homes of seven people allegedly linked to the New Profile Web
site and another Web site called "Target 21," on suspicion that they
incited readers to evade military service in violation of the law.
Among those detained were 70-year-old
Analine Kirsch, the daughter of a family of Righteous Gentiles who
converted to Judaism and married a Holocaust survivor, 51-year-old
Miriam Hadar, Amir Givol from Jerusalem, Sergei Sandler from
Beersheba, and Roni Barkan from Tel Aviv.
In a letter to the deputy attorney-general
for special tasks, Shai Nitzan, Ben-Natan, who represents New
Profile, said that in addition to investigating two elderly women
who had committed no crime, police had also seized computers
belonging to the suspects and their families, including one
belonging to a psychologist that contained confidential information
about his patients.
Detectives also searched the offices of
the Jerusalem-based human rights organization Hamoked-Center for the
Defense of the Individual because one of the suspects had once
worked there. The office, which does a great deal of legal work on
behalf of individual Palestinian human rights, contains "an enormous
amount" of classified documents, Ben-Natan wrote.
She also said the investigation did not
focus on actions perpetrated by the suspects but on the opinions
they had expressed on the site, allegedly including in the
organization's charter. This was a violation of the fundamental
right of freedom of expression, she said.
The New Profile charter states: "While we
were taught to believe that the country is faced by threats beyond
its control, we now realize that the words 'national security' have
often masked calculated decisions to choose military action for the
achievement of political goals. We are no longer willing to take
part in such choices. We will not go on enabling them by obediently
and uncritically supplying soldiers to the military which implements
"We will not go on being mobilized,
raising children for mobilization, supporting mobilized partners,
brothers, fathers, while those in charge of the country go on
deploying the army easily, rather than creating other solutions."
The investigation of New Profile began on
September 15, 2008.
According to a statement issued by the
Justice Ministry spokesman at that time, the Web sites of New
Profile and Target 21 were suspected of preaching evasion of
military service, thereby violating Article 109 of the Penal Law.
They were also suspected of helping those slated for military
service to obtain an exemption by deceit or by knowingly submitting
false information, the ministry said.
The request to investigate the Web sites
originally came from Military Advocate-General Brig.-Gen. Avichai
Mandelblitt in February 2008. The move was part of a crackdown on
military service evasion that began after the Second Lebanon War in
the summer of 2006.
In her letter, Ben-Natan referred to a
ruling handed down by the High Court of Justice in January 2006 on a
petition demanding that Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz dissolve an
NGO that allegedly incited in favor of "selective refusal" by
supporting conscripts who were not pacifists but refused to serve in
the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The organization argued that it did not
encourage conscripts to refuse to serve, but helped those who had
decided for themselves to refuse by explaining to them the legal
options for avoiding military service.
Mazuz rejected the demand to dissolve the
organization, in the name of the right to freedom of expression, and
the High Court approved the decision.
Ben-Natan said New Profile also did not
incite to evasion of military service.
"The organization does not encourage
people to evade military service," she told The Jerusalem Post.
"It is in favor of refusal to serve and anti-militarism, but it does
not encourage conscripts to do so if they do not want to in the
Ben-Natan added that when the organization
explained the options open to a conscript who does not want to
serve, it did not include illegal options such as forging medical
But the state thinks otherwise. In its
September announcement that it was opening an investigation, the
Justice Ministry spokesman said, "The deputy attorney-general
believes that the gravity of the incitement on these sites, in its
scope, quality and thoroughness - and especially by the fact that it
also tries to persuade conscripts to obtain an exemption by
deceiving the army, and gives finely detailed instructions on how to
execute this deception - obliges the state to deviate from its
[usual] highly restrained policy of not investigating a priori
suspicions of incitement to evasion of military duty."
Meanwhile, in response to claims that the
activists' free speech had been infringed upon, a source from Tel
Aviv police told the Post that the suspects had violated Law
109, which outlaws incitement to dodge military service.
"We received an order from the
attorney-general to examine this issue.
After looking at the material, we found a
basis to launch an investigation," the source said.
The suspects might also be guilty of
making or encouraging others to make deceitful statements, the
Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report