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New Israel Fund Concerned About Arrest of Leading Civil and Human Rights Activist Hagai El-Ad

15 January 2010

Washington: The New Israel Fund is extremely concerned about the arrest of Hagai El-Ad, Executive Director of NIF’s flagship grantee Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) during a peaceful rally today in East Jerusalem.  Following last week’s detention and interrogation of activist Anat Hoffman for leading a women’s prayer group at the Western Wall, it appears that a disturbing pattern of police intimidation is beginning to emerge. 

According to El-Ad’s Facebook page, fifteen people, including him, were arrested during a “peaceful law-abiding protest” in East Jerusalem.  “The police’s illegal attempts to silence this protest will fail,” El-Ad comments from a Jerusalem jail.  “Freedom of speech will prevail, no matter how outrageous the police’s actions will be.” 

Daniel Sokatch, NIF’s Chief Executive Officer, also voiced serious concerns about the implications of these arrests.  “The New Israel Fund is committed to a democratic Israel in which progressive voices are not intimidated, threatened or misrepresented,” Sokatch stated.  “NIF stands shoulder to shoulder with Hagai, Anat and other civil society leaders working to build a better Israel.  Attempts to silence their voices only serve to remind us how critical it is that we continue – and indeed redouble – our support for their efforts.”

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