29 May 2007
HEBRON REFLECTION: Tortured in an Israeli prison
by Mary Yoder
Two weeks ago, Paul Rehm and I escorted ten young boys to a soccer field in
another part of the city, away from Israeli soldiers, settlers, and guns.
We sat in the shade of a cypress tree. A college student sat next to us and
asked, "Who are you, what do you do here?"
After explaining the work of CPT He said, "Your government is bad! What are
you doing about it?"
I explained the process we take to petition our government officials.
But he had an "edge" to him; a passionate "edge", that I have seen many
After some time he drew several straight lines on a piece of paper. He
asked for the English word.
"Prison?" I said. "Have you been to prison?"
"Yes," he said, "for two years. First, I go for six month; no reason, I
don't know why. Then Shabak (roughly analogous to the FBI in the U.S.)
come, I said to them, 'why am I here?'"
"They say it is secret and they give no answer."
I noticed a nervous look in his eyes and a slight tremor in his hands.
He made a clenched fist and aimed it toward his head. "The word?" He said.
"Beat? So they beat you in the head?" I asked
"Yes," he replied. "And they put electricity on my hands, my feet, and my
My new friend told me how the Shabak, asked him to go to Gaza for a secret
mission. When he refused, his interrogators again beat him. He received a
six-month extension on his sentence and still did not know his charges.
After one year, Shabak told him that he would have a court hearing. They
said he needed to confess to prior bombing attack. Again, he refused and
this time, the Shabak said they would kill him. He served one more year and
his interrogators told him he could never return to the city of his family
when he was released. But he returned to his family anyway.
I saw his college textbook and told him that I hope he has a good future. I
told him that we are Christians, that we care about everyone. "Everyone is
equal; we believe in peace. We respect your beliefs and your people."
His eyes turned red, but he did not cry. He said nothing. Slowly a smile
returned to his face and his hands stopped trembling.
The questions he then asked me were typical questions I get from most
Hebronites. "Are you married? Why not? You don't have children?"
Finally, the soccer team finished their game; Paul and I left this man in
the shade of a beautiful cypress tree. The sunny weather and spring breeze
made it one of those "perfect" days.
I prayed in my heart for healing of this person's spirit and mind. I prayed
for healing of this land and a return to springtime.