Wake up call: Today the Israeli police detained five members of an Israeli feminist group that has encouraged young Israelis not to join the army. The police confiscated several of the group members’ computers. The five were released after signing agreements not to contact other members of the group, New Profile. The computers were held. Other members of the group have been ordered to appear before the police tomorrow.
Jewish Voice for Peace
is on the case, urging that Americans write to the Israeli attorney
general to demand an end to the harassment. (I.e., reverse the lobby!)
New Profile calls itself a “movement” and says its goal is to demilitarize Israeli society. (We’ve mentioned them on this site before, in connection with the Shministin.) From the press release New Profile issued, titled, “Harsh Police Attack on Freedom of Expression”:
All five were interrogated in the Ramat Hachiyal station in the Yarkon
Region of the police. At the conclusion of the interrogation they were
released on bail and under limiting conditions, and all were told that
during the next 30 days they are forbidden to contact other members of
The New Profile Movement expressed rage over the interrogation and the
demand to not have contact with other members, which means a partial
paralysis of the activities of this important organization in civil
society in Israel.
Amongst those interrogated: Analeen Kish, aged 70, a ceramics artist,
daughter of a family of the the “Righteous among the Nations” who
converted to Judaism after her marriage to Holocaust survivor Dr. Eldad
Kish, active in organizations of Dutch Holocaust survivors in Israel.
The pair have six grandchildren; Miriam Hadar, age 51, an editor and
translator, mother of two, married to professor of psychology Uri
Hadar. The two women were born in Holland and continue to hold Dutch
Additionally detained for interrogation were Amir Givol, a resident of
Jerusalem, Sergei Sandler, a resident of Beer Sheva, and Roni Barkan, a
resident of Tel Aviv. The computers of all those interrogated were
taken by the police, who presented search warrants.
New Profile member Ruth Hiller writes:
While we support those who make a conscious decision not to conscript into
the military, and provide information to those who approach us with questions
related to the matter, we maintain that we are not breaking the law. We feel
Profile is being targeted because of real changes taking place in Israeli
society. We encourage the many Israelis who think before enlisting and who also
question the conventional wisdom that “we have no other choice” but war. The
growing numbers of Israelis that refuse to perform full military service are
testimony to an unprecedented change in Israel.
This investigation into New Profile’s practices is a further attempt to silence
us and proves that the in a militarized society such as Israel’s there isn’t
tolerance for difference of opinion or freedom of democratic processes…
We already know that other members of New Profile
ordered to appear before the police for additional questioning
More from the press release:
Attorney Smadar Ben Nathan, who is representing New Profile, said that the investigation of the police is focusing on the website of New Profile, which has links to other sites on the internet. Ben Nathan added that the New Profile Movement is a recognized non-profit association which acts openly and publicly, in accordance with the law, and the use of a criminal investigation in this context is invalid and exaggerated, and stands in opposition to freedom of expression.
New Profile is a feminist movement established ten years ago. The movement has been warning for years of the exaggerated and destructive influence of Israeli militarism on civilian life, and provides legal aid and social support to young people desiring not to do military service, both for political and personal reasons.
The New Profile Movement noted today: “These recent acts confirm what we have been contending for many years: the militarism of society in Israel harms the sacred principles of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of political association. One who believed that until now criminal files were conjured up “only” for Arab citizens of Israel saw this morning that none of us can be certain that s/he can freely express an opinion concerning the failures of society and rule in Israel.”
For interviews: Dr. Diana Dolev, telephone: 052 872 8300
Attorney Smadar Ben Nathan, telephone: 052 358 9775
For further details: Ofra Leith, telephone: 050 552 4372
Eilat Maoz, Coordinator of the Women’s Coalition for Peace, telephone: 050 857 5729