An unlikely charge of intent to commit treason landed Meir Baruchin, a grey-haired, softly spoken history and civics teacher, in the solitary confinement wing of Jerusalem’s notorious “Russian Compound” prison in early November.
The evidence compiled by police who handcuffed him, then drove to his apartment and ransacked it as he watched, was a series of Facebook posts he’d made, mourning the civilians killed in Gaza, criticising the Israeli military, and warning against wars of revenge.
“Horrific images are pouring in from Gaza. Entire families were wiped out. I don’t usually upload pictures like this, but look what we do in revenge,” said a message on 8 October, below a picture of the family of Abu Daqqa, killed in one of the first airstrikes on Gaza. “Anyone who thinks this is justified because of what happened yesterday, should unfriend themselves. I ask everyone else to do everything possible to stop this madness. Stop it now. Not later, Now!!!”
It was the day after Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel, when the country was reeling from the slaughter of 1,200 people and the kidnapping of more than 240.
He knew his views about the Israeli military were controversial; similar criticism at a less volatile time had cost him a teaching post in the city of Rishon LeZion, near Tel Aviv, three years earlier. He also thought expressing them was vitally important as the country decided how to respond. [Continue reading…]