Eighteen people were arrested on Tuesday night at right-wing demonstrations in Jerusalem and northern Israel following claims that the Shin Bet security service tortured Jewish terror suspects in the deadly firebombing of a Palestinian home in July.
At the Tishby Junction near the northern city of Yokneam, 17 protesters were arrested as they tried to block traffic. In Jerusalem, an 18-year-old woman was arrested as some 250 people demonstrated near the Chords Bridge, at the entrance to the city.
The demonstrations followed claims by lawyer Itamar Ben Gvir that his client, the central suspect in the Dawabsha family murders, confessed and reconstructed the July 31 attack, after having been tortured by the Shin Bet security service interrogators.
The firebombing, which killed three members of the Dawabsha family in the village of Duma, has been ruled a Jewish terror attack by authorities, leading Israel’s security cabinet to vote to extend counter terror measures used in the West Bank against Palestinian terror.
Ben Gvir claimed that the investigators “broke” his client after torturing him, preventing him from sleeping for long periods of time and “harming his values.”
The suspect’s identity remains undisclosed.
Ben Gvir said the investigation should stop since his client admitted to the crime, defined as an act of Jewish terrorism, only due to the torture he went through.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel of the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party sent a text message to his friends on Tuesday night, calling for the closure of the Jewish department of the Shin Bet, which is responsible for dealing with Jewish terror, Channel 10 reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other senior ministers have defended the Shin Bet’s methods and said the service is acting in strict accordance with the law.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett on Monday voiced firm support for the Shin Bet and its methods in the interrogation of Jewish terror suspects, which some on the right have condemned as torture. Bennett, head of the Jewish Home, also harshly condemned Jewish extremists, accusing them of using “murder” in a dangerous quest to “overthrow” the state.