Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

21 Shevat 5761 - Febuary 14, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Compensation: How much are Ten Years of Freedom Worth?

by D. Berger

Forty-six million shekels, the biggest suit ever filed in an Israeli court against the State of Israel. This is the amount of the suit filed by four plaintiffs who sat in jail for many long years after having committed no crime.

Their story goes back more than two decades, to a time when the entire country was shaken up by a series of arson attacks against newspapers and public institutions in Tel Aviv. Israel Police received an order to capture those responsible for the crimes at any price, before a real revolt broke out. The police, pumped with motivation, arrested four Israelis suspected of committing the offenses. After they denied all ties to the incidents, the police investigators were given orders to do whatever necessary to extract a confession from them.

Israel Police know exactly what that means, and they succeeded in forcing the requested confession from the four suspects, and later, during the trial, they brought in false testimony and evidence and lied through their teeth. The court convicted the foursome and sentenced them to long years behind bars.

Two years ago the conscience of one of the police officers involved in the affair compelled him to admit in public that all of the confessions were wrung out of the four convicts through brute force and harsh abuse. He said the investigators received orders to extract confessions out of them through any means, and they carried out the order to a tee. The court opened up the investigation file and acquitted the four prisoners of all charges.

After spending 3-10 years of their lives in jail, they were not satisfied with the paltry compensation awarded by the court, and are now suing the state for 40 million shekels. They say all the money in the world cannot bring back the years stolen from them by the State, but that State authorities have to be made aware that such deeds carry a heavy price tag. Some of the police officers still serve on the police force, and have not had to face any investigations for their involvement in this serious affair.

In another police scandal, a cassette that was recorded accidentally by several police investigators, and which includes accounts of grave acts against suspects, has been circulating around the Tel Aviv police force. Like all other tales of Chelm, here as well, a group of policemen sat around talking, each one bragging of his daring deeds and his successes in extracting confessions out of all sorts of suspects. Meanwhile they failed to notice that one of their colleagues' listening devices had been left on.

As if that was not enough, the officer to whom the listening device belonged, who was involved in another investigation, sent the material evidence from his investigation to the state attorney with cassettes from the investigation. He did not notice that the incriminating recording containing all of his and his colleagues' atrocious tales was also included among the other recordings. The prosecutor who received the material discovered the fascinating cassette and passed it on to the department for internal police investigations. Now police investigators are trying to ascertain whether their conduct was in keeping with the accepted standards of democratic nations with respect for human rights.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.