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Police: Station Chief Told Us to Harass Yad L'Achim Protestors
A Yad L'Achim demonstration against J.'s Witnesses in Rishon Letzion that had been sanctioned by police ended in the bizarre arrest of two Yad L'Achim activists.
07/30/08

The demonstration was organized in response to reports that a new missionary group was to arrive from abroad to bolster the activities of local missionaries. Yad L'Achim applied to the police for a permit to hold a demonstration at 7 Hachsharat Hayishuv Street, the J-Witnesses' headquarters, and received it three days later.

The demonstration flowed smoothly, but as it wound down and the demonstrators began to disperse, police officers who had been on hand to maintain order instructed two of the demonstrators to accompany them to their van.

When the two asked why they were being arrested, they were told something like, "The chief of our station says that there are several matters that must be straightened out."

The two were brought in, but not before the policemen themselves revealed that the arrest made no sense to them. "The truth is that we have no problem with the demonstration, which was legal," said one. "But this order came directly from the station chief in Rishon Letzion, Inspector Amichai Eshed."

On hearing this, the activists immediately contacted Yad L'Achim Chairman Rabbi Sholom Dov Lifshitz, who asked then-MK Rabbi Yaakov Cohen (United Torah Judaism) to get involved. Rabbi Cohen, who resigned from the Knesset last week as part of a rotation agreement, contacted the police station and received a promise that the activists would be released – though it took five hours.

The police asked the activists to give fingerprints, but they refused, despite being told that the police would take them against their will. Prior to their release, the police tried to get the activists to sign a commitment that they wouldn’t come near the missionary headquarters, which they refused to do. In the end the police were forced to release them unconditionally.

This week, Yad L'Achim officials met with Eshed, who leveled completely unfounded charges against the two. Asked why he hadn't charged the demonstrators, considering the "severity" of the charges, he answered that he lacked sufficient evidence.

The station chief added that as far as he was concerned Yad L'Achim activists disturb the peace, as opposed to the cult members, who were law-abiding, and that all complaints against Yad L'Achim would be dealt with "with zero tolerance and the utmost severity."

He repeated that if activists returned to the headquarters to protest against the cults attempts to convert Jews, "they would be arrested again and again."

Rabbi Lipshitz was outraged by the police chief's "insulting and degrading words," adding that "it is inconceivable that every commander can do what he wants and that the victims will be those who seek to save innocent Jews from being led astray from Judaism."

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