500 Shekel Fine

Israel's criminal "justice" System continues its persecution of Teenage Girls

copyright (c) 2006 by Mr. Moshe Belogorodsky

YERUSHALIYIM, Israelite Tribal Territories of Judah and Benjamin, Kingdom of David and Solomon, United Israelite Kingdom of Judah and Joseph, Eleventh Day, Tenth Month ("Tevet"), 5767; Yom Sheini (Second Day of the Week/"Mon"-day, January 1, 2007), Root & Branch Information Services

[mailto:rb@rb.org.il] [www.rb.org.il]:

The travesty of justice in my daughter Chaya's case has finally come to an end.

On Sunday, December 3, 2006, the "trial" came to an end. Being pretty certain that the judge would convict Chaya on at least one of four counts in the indictment, I prepared some remarks regarding our case, which I was going to deliver in "court" during the closing arguments. At that point, parents are given the opportunity to plead for reduction of the punishment which the child faces.

What follows is the translation of these remarks from Hebrew:

I hoped for justice, but instead behold iniquity; for righteousness, but instead behold oppression" (Isaiah 5:7).

Thus does Isaiah the Prophet describes the judicial system of his time. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.

Clearly, Chaya was not the one standing trial in our case. It was rather the State of Israel in general, and its judicial system in particular, which had to prove themselves innocent. The test was simple and clear: Will the judicial system remain true to those very values which it itself proclaimed as sacred, or will it willingly become a tool and an aide to political persecution of the opponents of "disengagement" [August, 2005 Gush Katif Expulsion].

To my great dismay the system failed miserably in this test. It brutally trod upon all those enlightened values it itself sanctified: Civil rights of its citizens, the rights of children, freedom to protest, and most important -- equality before law. Our case is a classic example of outright judicial discrimination, based on the political needs of the Israeli "government".

The Israeli "justice" system made a complete mockery of its own judicial precedents. My 14-year-old daughter was arrested until the end of judicial proceedings against her. She spent 40 days in jail, under arrest for the very same "crimes" that the Israeli Left commits almost daily. They are never treated in the way my daughter was treated. Here is just one example of this outrageous discrimination:

On July 10th, 2006, Ms. Dana Olmert -- none other than the daughter of our Prime Minister -- together with a number of Left-wing activists -- organized a demonstration against the I.D.F. in front of the Chief of Staff Halutz's home. They carried signs saying "Halutz is a murderer -- Intifada will prevail!" and shouted out to the residents: "Beware -- a murderer lives next to you". Why did not any of the more than 30 policemen at the scene arrest Dana for insulting a public official and supporting terror?

What about the case of two Left-wing radicals -- Netta Golan and Shelly Nativ? In April, 2001, at the height of the Arab riots, Netta & Co. decided to protest against the uprooting of Arab trees near the village of Dir Istyah. Hundreds of Arab attacks against Jewish motorists were carried out from this orchard. That fact did not bother Netta and her friends, who chained themselves to the trees to prevent the I.D.F. from uprooting them.

Netta and Shelly were arrested for "preventing a police officer from carrying out his duties". They were prosecuted and convicted of this crime (which is more serious than Chaya's "insulting a police officer") by "Judge" Maimon-Shaashua in a Kfar Saba "court".

The "judge" sent them to be interviewed by a probation "officer" (just as Chaya was) to determine their punishment. The probation "officer" recommended being very lenient with Ms. Golan and Ms. Nativ, as "their actions were motivated by a positive humanitarian ideology".

"Judge" Maimon-Shaashua was so touched by this that she overturned her own previous decision to convict Golan and Nativ, and acquitted them because they were motivated by "positive humanitarian ideology". Maybe you can explain to me why protesting the uprooting of Arab trees is more positive and humanitarian than protesting the uprooting of Jews from the Land of Israel?!

You said in your "decision" to convict Chaya that "the criminal conviction causes a permanent stain on the accused, a stain that will follow him wherever he goes". Sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes, a criminal conviction causes a permanent moral stain on the "judicial" system itself.

This was the case with the "judicial" system in Soviet Russia when it used criminal law to persecute refuseniks. What of such famous "criminals" as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King? They too were convicted when they protested against unjust laws. It took decades for the American "justice" system to recognize its own injustice towards these people, and the moral stain that their criminal prosecution left on the system. Today, these "criminals" are considered national heroes and all of America celebrates Martin Luther King day.

The time is near when the current Israeli "justice" system, too, will be replaced by a truly just system -- one based on our Holy Torah. Until that day, you should know that it is you -- all the "judges" involved in this case -- who have put the last nail in the coffin of our trust in this current system. After going through this mockery of justice we have come to realize that those teenage girls who refused to recognize your moral right to judge them were indeed absolutely correct. We cannot hope to get justice in your courts.

Needless to say I was cut off early on and not allowed to say all of the above for the "court" protocol. The reason? In the words of the "judge": "This court is not a political rally". No, it's not. At least not for Right-wingers.

Chaya was acquitted, as I expected from the very beginning, of two of the more serious charges in her indictment -- rioting and interfering with police work. None of the prosecutions' witnesses -- police officers present at the scene -- made any claims in their testimony that Chaya rioted. It will be interesting to find out how and why the State Persecutor's (prosecutor's) office decided to indict Chaya for this crime, without having any facts at all on which to base this accusation.

As for interfering with police work, the only one who made this accusation was the policewoman who claimed that Chaya "insulted" her. During her testimony, however, this policewoman could not explain or demonstrate in any way exactly how Chaya interfered with her police work. The "judge", therefore, had no choice but to acquit Chaya of that charge.

I was fairly certain that the "judge" would convict Chaya on the charge of "insulting" the policewoman. It was the officer's word against Chaya's, and even though the officer was forced to admit a number of times that she did not remember many details of the event, the "judge" accepted her version of the events over Chaya's.

If everything was so clear to us from the start, why did we go through with this farce of a "trial"? The truth is, I had a very faint glimmer of hope that the "judge" would have enough courage to throw this case out of "court". Our case was so clearly political and discriminatory that any "judge" with an ounce of guts should have thrown it out of "court". The guts, unfortunately, were nowhere to be found.

So Chaya was convicted. The punishment? 500 shekels fine. Even though Chaya had already spent 40 days in jail before her trial began. Even though, according to their own "rules", she should not have spent even 40 seconds there.

Why the fine? It is clear to me that the "judge" wanted to add insult to injury. Throughout the duration of our "trial" none of the "judges" involved made even the smallest effort to pretend that they were interested in justice. To the contrary. Their message was crystal clear: We are at war with you, we want to break you and your child, and none of the rules we created for the "justice" system apply to you. What I saw was a vicious, brutal determination to break us, to show us our place -- at the back of the proverbial bus.

Many of you will find the above rather disturbing. Please consider that I arrived at these conclusions based on my experience with no less than 6 "judges", a year-and-a-half spent in "courts", and statements made regarding our case by numerous lawyers and law professors (including those from the Left).

What can we do to protect ourselves? We must organize and unite behind our own civil rights organization -- Honenu. Strong Honenu is the only way to stand up and fight these types of abuses. Honenu was there for us every step of the way.

Just as Honenu has been "there" for hundreds of other Jews, young and old, who are persecuted by the injustice system for being Right.

May we live to see the restoration of our judges "as in former times"

Shalom from Shilo,

Mr. Moshe Belogorodsky

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