Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hearing for Teenaged Girl Imprisoned for Nearly Three Months


G-d bless this girl, and G-d bless her family for raising a girl with the strength of Torah and the land of Israel behind her.

May she cause others to wake from their slumber and demand that Israel return to its roots, to be a Jewish land, to respect Hashm, and to turn its back upon those who would try to destroy our people either through violence, through oppression, or through assimilation.

The youth are a blessing, as they believe in ideals and they strive to make those ideals into the reality of the world.

May she never loose the strength of those ideals and may she live long enough to see Israel restored.

by Hillel Fendel

( A hearing is being held this morning (Wednesday) in the Kfar Saba Magistrates Court for 18-year-old Tzviyah Sariel, who has been imprisoned for almost three months. She stands accused of having attacked Arabs who attempted to enter Elon Moreh. In what some call a "cruel" departure from normal practice, she is being held until the end of the legal proceedings against her.

Many of her friends, family and supporters arrived at the courtroom, which was so full that some were forced to remain outside.

Tzviyah and a friend were arrested in December when Arabs tried to enter their community, claiming they wanted to pick olives. Elon Moreh has had a history of problems with its neighboring Arabs, leading to at least five deaths: St.-Sgt. Yaakov Krenchel, 23, a reserve soldier from Nahariya, was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist sniper between Itamar and Elon Moreh, and four members of the Gavish-Kaner families were murdered in their home on the Passover holiday in 2002.

Though Tzviyah's friend was released, Tzviyah herself refused to sign the necessary papers - and has been in prison ever since. She, like others arrested in similar circumstances [click here and here], says she refuses to recognize a non-Torah legal system that aims to prevent Jews from exercising their own rights in the Land of Israel.

To this end, she refuses to be treated like other prisoners, and has been placed in solitary confinement for days at a time - nine days in total - after not agreeing to be strip-searched or stand when prisoners are counted.

Tzviyah is accused of pushing an Arab - but the Arab in question testified only that a girl whom he could not identify tried to take his cane.

"Hiring Lawyers Means Respecting Court's Justice"
"Tzviyah is crying out against the way in which Israel's judicial system uses cruel and unusual punishments against people who protest government policies," writes Moshe Dann, a journalist who has been following the case. Though some in her situation choose to fight from within, by getting a good lawyer and the like, "people like Tzviyah are trying to show that the charges themselves are politically motivated and without merit. Hiring lawyers and fighting in court means accepting the legitimacy of the court and respecting its judgments. They want to show that the judicial system itself is biased and corrupted."

Recently, seven teenaged girls were held in prison for three weeks - arrested for being present at the unauthorized Givat HaOr outpost near Beit El - because they refused to identify themselves.

"The willingness of courts to punish anyone, especially children, [simply] for what they think," Dann writes, "is a chilling indication of how close we are to dictatorship. Forced to suffer jail, they are desperately trying to sound an alarm [that] there's something more important than 'Law and Order' - and it's called morality. As a society, we dare not remain deaf to their pleas."

Civil Administration Stands Accused
Tzviyah is accused of pushing an Arab, who testified on Wednesday only that a girl, whom he could not identify, tried to take his cane. Even more significantly, he said that he and other Arabs did not come to pick olives at all, but rather, "we were told by the Civil Administration officials that if we didn't come, the land would end up in Jewish hands."

Before the hearing began, the prosecutor reportedly approached Tzviyah's mother and asked her, "Perhaps your daughter will agree to sign after all? Because if not, this won't end today..." This, despite the fact that decisions of this nature are generally made by the judge, not the prosecutor.

Tzviyah's mother was removed from the court session after she tried to speak with her daughter.

Volunteer PR Agent
Dudi, a "concerned citizen" who lives in the Galilee, has taken upon himself to be the public relations agent for the Sariel family. Asked why, he told Arutz-7, "I greatly admire the way that Tzviyah has chosen to wage her struggle, and I feel it should be promoted. The State has become disloyal to its own ideals of fairness and democracy, and we need people to stand up and say so openly."

Though there is a chance that Tzviyah will be freed immediately after the hearing, her supporters are not optimistic that she will be anywhere but back in the bare and hostile jail cell in Nvei Tirtzah Women's Prison that has been her home for nearly three months.

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