This evening, two American activists who reside in Israel as legal foreign workers with Israeli nonprofit organizations were detained and interrogated for over three hours at the Israeli border crossing at Taba. Simone Zimmerman and Abby Kirschbaum were returning from a weekend in the Sinai when they were stopped at the border; the Ministry of Interior said they were being held by Shin Bet. After around three hours of interrogation, they were released and allowed to enter Israel.
Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund (NIF), responded:
“It is now beyond doubt that the Netanyahu government has turned its border crossings into interrogation chambers. The government is demonstrating once again that the test for entering the country is a political one — either you agree with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultra-right wing coalition or you’re subject to questioning, intimidation, or refusal. This may be legal, but it’s morally unacceptable and anti-democratic.
“The Israeli government has mobilized every ministry to mark its political enemies, including its own citizens and legal residents, and that’s simply not something a democracy does. Israel now finds itself in very poor company: Only a government with something to hide would work this hard to keep out those with whom it disagrees.”