Tuesday, September 27, 2005


On Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2005, Herbert Zweibon, Chairman of Americans For a Safe Israel/AFSI, and Helen Freedman, AFSI Executive Director, escorted Chaya and Moshe Belogorodsky through the halls of Congress in Washington, DC. The two leaders of AFSI believed it was very important to introduce the Members of Congress to a father and daughter who have been victims of the “judicial imperialism” that exists today in the Israeli courts, encouraged by the Sharon government’s disregard for the will of the people. Robert Bork, American legal scholar, describes the Israeli Supreme Court as one that “is gradually producing an Israel that is neither Jewish nor democratic.” Chaya, 14 years old, was arrested by the Israeli police for standing on the sidelines in a protest against the expulsion, and then speaking rudely to a policewoman. She was kept in solitary confinement for five days, without permission to call her family or a lawyer, denied water and basic needs for periods of time. After the five days, she was moved out of solitary and kept in jail for an additional 35 days. All of this was prior to any trial, the date of which must still be set. At the trial, should she be found guilty of her “crime”, the penalty for this would be a monetary fine, without any jail time. But for this, she has already served 40 days in jail. Her father, Moshe, tried desperately to get her released, going from one court to another, until he reached the Supreme Court. There the judge ruled that Chaya was an “ideological criminal” and therefore more dangerous than drug dealers, murderers, rapists, and even terrorists, who are released as good will gestures to other terrorists. It was only public opinion pressure that finally secured her release.

As Chaya and Moshe told their stories to Congressman Jim Saxton, and aides for Senator Inhofe, Congressmen Mike Pence and Tom Tancredo, they received overwhelming interest and concern. It is expected that action will be taken on the part of those who heard the Belogorodsky story to inform Prime Minister Sharon that such civil disobedience actions as taking part in demonstrations is part and parcel of the democratic process, and jailing minors for long periods of time for such offenses is intolerable.

As Freedman, Zweibon, Chaya and Moshe spoke in the halls of Congress, they also told about the hundreds of other cases where minors are sitting in jail for similar offenses. The case of Shimshon Cytryn, presently being held for “attempted murder” in a clearly trumped up case, and eleven new cases of arrests of minors, illustrates that the “judicial imperialism,” producing egregious violations of human and civil rights in Israel, is running out of control. Honenu, an Israeli Jewish civil rights organization that defends the legal rights of minors and others caught in such cases needs the support of an informed public. Call AFSI, 212-828-2424, or write: afsi@rcn.com, for additional information.


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