Security services eye tracking devices for Jewish extremists
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Security services eye tracking devices for Jewish extremists

Reported proposal comes amid ongoing violations of administrative orders limiting movements of far-right activists

Lee Gancman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of a masked Jewish settler swinging a slingshot as he stands near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, on May 19, 2013 (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a masked Jewish settler swinging a slingshot as he stands near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, on May 19, 2013 (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)

Security services have reportedly been advancing an initiative to monitor suspected Jewish extremists by obliging them to wear electronic tracking tags. The move would aid the enforcement of administrative restraining orders, including bans from entering the West Bank or Jerusalem, which suspects have violated multiple times in recent months, Army Radio reported Sunday.

Authorities have been cracking down on Jewish extremists in the wake of the July 31 firebombing attack on the home of the Dawabsha family in the West Bank village of Duma, which killed toddler Ali Saad Dawabsha and his parents, Riham and Saad. Five-year-old Ahmed, Ali’s brother, remains hospitalized in Israel and faces a long rehabilitation. Amiram Ben-Uliel, a far-right extremist, was last week charged with murdering the family.

The attack, coupled with a fatal stabbing spree by an ultra-Orthodox Jew at Jerusalem’s gay pride parade a day earlier, sparked an international and domestic outcry over Israel’s failure to come to grips with violence by Jewish terrorists and extremists.

Since then, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has approved the use of detention without charges — known as administrative detention — against Jewish terror suspects together with a more frequent use of house arrests and orders restricting the movement of suspects.

According to the Army Radio report, the move to introduce electronic tracking tags to monitor the movements of suspects has been a matter of serious discussion for the past two weeks, especially in the Shin Bet and IDF central command, as it is intended for use even against suspects who have not been charged.

Many extremist Jewish activists, many of them minors, have been banned from the West Bank and Jerusalem, and over 10 have been subject to either complete house arrest, or curfew, by administrative order, according to officials. Security sources note, however, that these restrictions have been difficult to enforce.

A notable example was the recent “hate wedding,” which reportedly involved several youths who had restraining orders barring them from Jerusalem. During the wedding, footage of which was aired by Channel 10 last month, dozens of far-right guests were shown celebrating the Duma firebombing attack. Some of the guests were shown raising guns in the air while others stabbed a photo of 18-month-old Ali who was killed in the attack.

Far-right Israeli wedding-goers celebrate the killings of the Dawabsha family (screen capture: Channel 10)
Far-right Israeli wedding-goers celebrate the killings of the Dawabsha family (screen capture: Channel 10)

Israelis security services say that the introduction of electronic tracking tags will allow them to more effectively monitor suspects in real time, preventing them from engaging in extremist activities.

In order for the measure to be put in place, however, it would require the intervention of the state attorney, a change to the military directive, and adjustments in the Israel Prisons Authority and the Public Security Ministry, which are in charge of such surveillance.

This move is expected to face some opposition as current electronic tracking tags are only used during and after trial. Using these devices on Jewish suspects without trial, and based only on Shin Bet intelligence, would thus be precedent-setting.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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