A group of Israeli ultra-Orthodox Jews were arrested overnight between Wednesday and Thursday in the Palestinian village Kiffel-Hares after the group tried to hold midnight prayers at the grave of the Biblical prophet Joshua, located in the village. Police said the group entered the town, near the city of Ariel, to pray but were quickly attacked by a barrage of rocks.
IDF forces rescued the Israelis and the police detained them for questioning. The group is suspected of violating a military order (by entering a Palestinian village, considered a closed military zone), actions that could endanger public safety and disturbing the work of a public servant. The men were detained overnight and will appear in the Petah Tikva Magistrates Court Thursday afternoon.
The Honenu legal aid organization criticized security forces for having “given another reward to terrrorism” and said the area in question is not located in a closed military zone.
“Once again the police has rewarded terrorism and arrested Jews who came to pray but were attacked by Arabs,” said Honenu in a statement. “Kiffel-Hares is in Area B (unless the village’s status has changed in the last few weeks), meaning Israelis are allowed to enter. Several months ago, following a similar incident, police claimed the hassidim had “disturbed the work of a public servant” and created a public disturbance because entering the village created a danger both to themselves and to security forces. Of course, the same could be said by driving on the road near the town of Huwara (an Arab town near Nablus that has produced many terrorists).
“I guess the police have decided that it is easier to act against Jews at prayer instead of against Arab rioters,” the group said.