Hunger- striking until he reached the prison gates, Evyatar Slonim (pictured), the Australian-Israeli citizen jailed without charge since an August crackdown on extremist settlers, has walked free.
However, Israeli security officials have told The AJN that the 23-year-old, whose parents made aliyah from Melbourne, was, and remains, a danger to security.
They said that while it was decided not to extend his detention beyond six months, “he has been subjected to other administrative restrictions because of the danger arising from him”.
The restrictions include a nightly curfew at his parents’ home in the West Bank settlement of Tzufim, a restraining order which limits his movement elsewhere in the West Bank, and a list of a few dozen people that he may not contact.
The security officials also revealed that, while the Slonim family has been decrying the lack of process surrounding the detention, there was a (closed door) process of “full judicial review” in court, including the Supreme Court, where the detention was approved because of “his danger and the grounds of the security of the state and its citizens”.
The picture of the security officials is radically different to that presented by Slonim’s parents this week.
Talking exclusively to The AJN on Tuesday, they described their son as an innocent victim of zealous security services who were acting against Jewish extremism in the days after the fatal arson of July 31 in the Palestinian village of Duma.
“It appears that the authorities needed to arrest someone in order to show that they were doing something in the wake of the Duma arson, and for some reason found Evyatar to be a suitable victim,” they said. “Tremendous damage has been done to Evyatar’s reputation over the past six months … That is damage that is very difficult to undo.”
Gila and Ze’ev Slonim Evyatar Slonim’s parents Gila and Ze’ev Slonim insist that they have no idea why their son was arrested and maintain that while he spent time among the so-called “Hilltop Youth” – hardliners who dwell on West Bank hilltops – and his politics differ “from the establishment in the State of Israel”, he has done no wrong and poses no risk. They say that they their “faith in the current Israeli legal system has been shattered”, adding: “We saw how with such ease an innocent person was incarcerated.”
However, the security officials who spoke to The AJN said that there was a clear rationale for his detention. “Evyatar Slonim was kept in administrative detention in light of clear and meaningful information indicating a danger posed to security,” they said.
As for what happens now, it is unclear whether the restrictions will be removed after six months. Even if they are, his parents fear that their son will be stigmatised.
“Tremendous damage has been done to Evyatar’s reputation over the past six months,” they said.
“It is clear to us that there are many people who would be wondering what he ‘really’ did in order to deserve such treatment, and would imagine that indeed he must be guilty in some way to warrant such treatment. That is damage that is very difficult to undo.”