Sunday Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy presided over a hearing on a petition submitted by one Shimshon Cytryn requesting to be released from Dekel prison and placed under house arrest. Justice Levy deferred his ruling to a later date.
Cytryn, 19 a yeshiva student from the community of Nachliel in the Binyamin Region, is accused of attempted murder. Last June 28, two groups of teenage boys pelted one another with rocks on the Muwassi beach area in Gaza adjacent to the Israeli community Shirat Hayam. As the fight raged for three days without IDF intervention, the Israeli press set up shop near the boys and waited.
On June 28 the media sprang into action. Channel 1 filmed a series of narrow lens video clips which showed only the Israeli youths - including Cytryn -- throwing rocks. Then Yediot Aharonot reporter Yitzhak Saban "heroically" inserted himself into the drama. He jumped before the cameras and "saved" a Palestinian youth whom he and his fellow reporters claimed had been critically wounded by the Israeli youths in a manner that recalled "a lynch." The next morning a photo of Saban's "intervention" was on the front page of Yediot. Television and radio news broadcasts led with stories about the "lynching" carried out by "right-wing extremists." They reported that the Palestinian "victim" was hospitalized in Gaza and fighting for his life.
Yet that Palestinian "victim" was in and out of the hospital in the space of two hours. The picture of health, he gave multiple interviews to Arab and European reporters where he expounded on the "heroic battle" he and his friends fought against the "Jewish settlers." The fact of the "victim's" miraculous recovery from his life threatening wounds was not reported in the Israeli press until several days later and then the story was hidden in laconic reports on the inside pages of the papers.
The "lynch" story was manufactured against the backdrop of a steady drop in public support for the Sharon government's plan to expel all the Israeli residents from Gaza and northern Samaria. Polling data showed that less than 50 percent of Israelis supported the plan. But the "lynching" story reversed the trend. In the space of 24 hours, the public's support for the withdrawal rose to over 60 percent.
After the expulsions were completed last August, IDF commanders, including then OC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Dan Harel admitted that there had never been anything even vaguely resembling a lynching. But the crime's fabrication did not prevent the police from arresting Cytryn nor did it did stop the state prosecution from charging him with attempted murder. So now Cytryn sits in prison awaiting trial for a crime that was never committed.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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