Despite Terror Alert Large Police Presence At Federman Bat-Mitzvah
Aaron Lerner Date: 4 November 2003
At a time that Israel Police manpower is focused on terror threats,
authorities opted to allocate a substantial police contingent to monitor the
Bat Mitzvah party of the daughter of Noam Federman that was held in
Jerusalem this evening.
Noam Federman, who is under administrative detention, was accompanied by 13
policemen to his daughter's party. An additional contingent of special
police forces were deployed outside the Jerusalem social hall. The Federmans
live in Hebron but the authorities decided Noam Federman would only be
permitted to attend the family celebration if it took place in Jerusalem.
It should be noted that the Israeli authorities have lost almost every case
out of the many cases they have filed against Federman. Under administrative
detention Federman is not permitted to know how the authorities justify his
detention to the court, thus stripping him of the ability to challenge the
The purpose of the large police presence at the Bat Mitzva remains unclear.
Federman is not considered a flight risk and access to the Bat Mitzvah party
was limited to his daughter's friends and family, thus limiting the need to
protect Federman from a possible attack.
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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[Archives]Ha'aretz: Kach keeps winning on freedom of speech
By Baruch Kra Ha'aretz Correspondent - Ha'aretz 6 March 2001
"Judges like Ruth Or and Noam Solberg belong in the Yesha Council of
Settlements," said MK Ahmed Tibi said in recent interview on Kol Yisrael.
He was referring to the acquittal last week of right-wing activists Itamar
Ben Gvir, Noam Federman and Ben Zion Gapstein, accused of attacking the Arab
MK in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court in February 1999.
Was Tibi's rhetoric directed against the law? Will police investigate him
for insulting public servants? Ironically, another case in which Ben Gvir is
on trial, with the verdict due soon, could turn out to be a precedent for
Ben Gvir is on trial for handing out leaflets that said "whoever can't set
aside their leftist views when they go to the court should not be judges ...
Judge Segal is persecuting the right wing and settlers only because of his
views, and he hands down stiff sentences ... he should be impeached."
But that case could end up like the one for assaulting Tibi, and another 19
cases in which Ben Gvir was acquitted. (He also has six convictions, none of
them meriting jail time.) It could end like 30 other cases against another
Kahane activist, Noam Federman (convicted seven times and sent to one brief
term in jail), or like many of the cases again Baruch Marzel.
Since Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, state prosecutors have been trying in
various ways and using various laws on the books - vandalism, insulting
public servants, disturbing public order, and others - to convict the Kahane
activists. But the prosecution usually loses and sometimes is even
reprimanded by a judge complaining there was no case in the first place.
Judge Noam Solberg wrote in the case of Ben Gvir, who wasn't even on the
scene during the attack on Tibi in the courthouse: "I doubt if it was proper
to indict him, despite the disgusting things he said." (Gvir called Tibi a
terrorist and a Nazi.)
The judge wrote: "The new prime minister and the outgoing one felt it
heavily during the elections, as have many others, including public figures
... it was no pastoral scene out there, but it is well known that freedom of
speech is not only freedom to say things quietly and nicely. Freedom of
speech is also the freedom to speak in screams that hurt the ears."
One of the charges against Federman in the trial was "supporting a terrorist
organization" for his comments after the brawl with Tibi and his
bodyguards - "They (Tibi's bodyguards) attacked us and we took care of them
in the best Kahane tradition ... they attacked us and we will complain to
the police." Solberg acquitted Federman of the charge. "I didn't find
anything in Federman's boasting that was praise or support for a terrorist
There was no need to wait for the verdict to predict the prosecution's
defeat. Right after the brawl, the three were arrested and when the state
asked to remand them, Judge Aryeh Romanov said the evidence in the cases
were flawed "and even if I concluded the evidence was enough, I wouldn't
think it was enough to justify a remand."
The state appealed, the appeal was rejected, but the state didn't give up.
It adopted the strange system it has developed for these situations, a war
of attrition in the courts. The state went back to the lower bench - the
magistrates court - but this time it asked for remand until the end of the
proceedings. Again the court rejected the prosecution request and again the
state went to the District Court on appeal. Judge Ya'acov Tzaban ruled: "The
attempt to turn the incident into a crime under anti-terrorism laws is
Although the magistrate courts turned them down over and over again, the
police and prosecution persisted. In one case they brought Federman to Judge
Michal Agmon, after arresting him during a demonstration against Pope John
Paul II meeting with the chief rabbis. Agmon rejected the police request for
a remand, and added a reprimand. A few months went by and lo and behold, a
charge sheet on the same matter landed on her desk. At the start of the
case, she asked the state prosecutor to drop the charges. The state refused
and the trial goes on - along with four other trials of Federman on other
Behind the resounding defeats is a special team called "the integrated team
for enforcement of the laws against incitement and fomenting rebellion,"
headed by attorney Talia Sasson, head of the department of special tasks in
the state prosecutor's office.
The team was set up after Rabin's assassination on the initiative of then
attorney general Michael Ben Yair. It includes representatives of the
police, Shin Bet, army and State Attorney's Office. Whenever a right wing
extremist is arrested, the arresting agency, police or district attorney,
consults Sasson and she advises the prosecution in every case brought to
Legal sources and human rights organizations have a hard time explaining the
prosecution policy. Aside from freedom of speech, which usually comes up in
the failed cases, "at the end of the day," says Ben Gvir, "we profit from
the publicity of their persecution."
To this day (and apart from the Jewish Underground of the early 1980s), the
Jewish Department in the Shin Bet, which tracks right wing extremists,
hasn't managed to capture any significant individual or group fomenting
rebellion or violence. It seems the only people they do arrest are activists
who are only too happy to bathe under media floodlights and gain as much
publicity as possible.
It should be remembered, point out the activists, that Baruch Goldstein, Ami
Popper and Yigal Amir were not active members of Kach.
Justice Ministry on defensive
The Justice Ministry says "the prosecution checks every case and presents a
charge sheet after professional consideration of the case if there is a
reasonable case to be made on the basis of sufficient evidence."
As for Kach activists, in most of the cases, including the one mentioned in
this article, the ministry says "these are cases brought by the police
prosecutor, not by the State Attorney's Office." The ministry also
"emphasizes that the courts did not reprimand those cases brought by the
State Attorney's Office, but regarded the indictments as justified.