Set Halemo Free!

Moshe Halevi (aka: Halemo), a provocative Israeli blogger, was arrested yesterday for allegedly revealing the identity of the person which complained against former Minister of Justice, Haim Ramon. Halevi was placed in custody until he will pay bail. Currently, Halevi refuses to bail. Moreover, the court, in a strange manner, decided to order Halevi to refrain from accessing the Internet for a month. This said time is the time required by the police to copy all the alleged material from his computer.
Several scary things happen from this sad story. The first is that for the first time, a blogger was arrested for not even saying something illegal, just linking to a website which states it.
What Halemo did was link to two articles, where he did not say anything regarding the identity of the alleged victims of Moshe Katsav, israel’s president which is accused for rape and sexual assult and Haim Ramon, israel’s former minister of justice which is accused (and currently trialled) for sexual harassment.Halevi wrote the names of both Katsav and Ramon, where beneath their names he left a link to their personal websites. The Link to the president’s website showed (and still shows) the name of Katsav’s former chief of staff, and the Link to Ramon’s site (dead now) showed a thank you letter from the alleged victim.
Halemo’s arrest came as a surprise to the Israeli blog community and struck waves all around. That is for three reasons: The first is the amount of censorship on the Israeli bloggers, where they do not even breach any standing warrants – only report on the location of another crime; In my humble opinion, were this report published in a mainstream paper under the title: “President’s website linking to name of alleged victim”, there would be no problem.
Second, Halevi’s arrest is against all due procedure laws. An arrest of a suspect shall only be done in order to protect the public or to prevent a suspect from fleeing the country or tempering with evidence, none of these are supposed to happen now.
Third, the restriction on Halevi’s internet access is not reasonable, where his profession and social ties are done through the net. Halemo was not the one which presented the victims’ details, it was the flaw of the sysops (webmasters?) of the sites of Katsav and Ramon.
Halemo was the reporter which showed the flaw, He put a provocative, yet true, finger in the face of the king which walked naked. After weeks of conversations around various forums, and after a lot of user comments with the names of the victims, Halemo was the first to say to everyone: “In the age of the internet, nothing can be hidden from the public”.
Though i grief along with the victims for the publication of their names, i believe that the arrest of Halemo did no good. Now everyone knows how to reach his website and find out the details of the alleged victims. Now everyone knows their dirty little secret. Will this help? Keeping Halemo in custody will not help us have a safer country, keeping elected politicians from harassing women might will. Halevi’s freedom of speech was deprived today. For the first time an Israeli blogger was shut up. We, as bloggers cannot stand this, we are here for more than just writing, we are here to find out what is corrupt in the system.
Please link to this article from your blog and let others know the story of Halemo:

5 thoughts on “Set Halemo Free!

  1. Jonathan, it can also be seen as intimidation but it seems from your description that this was done because they thought they could get away with it. A public (mainstream) outcry is the only thing I think that can counter it. Hopefully the online mag your affiliated with can create enough buzz to be picked up in Haaretz or something. Israel not being that big, it ought to become a big story. This is intimidation in my mind..
    good luck! (btw.. I always wonder and somewhat worry that my posts are also monitored when I link to a site , I think in this political climate here in the US, it’s better to assume that one is)

  2. Ingrid,
    Everyone here is working to release him, including an article set for tomorrow in a mainstream paper. the thing is, that when Ido Kenan and Tomer Lichtash wrote, half a year ago, “Et nos, Brute?” (hebrew link) about the Vanunu procedure which added israel to the Amnesty Blacklist, i thought it was a one time thing.

    Now i’m not so certain.

  3. The link to Haaretz in the beginning of the article is wrong. It says dhttp instead of http.

    (Or are you afraid to be arrested too? 🙂 )

    Fight the good fight!

  4. Jonathan, I just read somewhere that in order to prevent your brain from atrophying that you need to do new things in order to challenge yourself. I think my ‘new’ chosen activity would have to be to learn Hebrew! Too bad that I cannot even make out a single letter to figure out what is being said! At least with any other Indo-european language, I can ‘sort of’ figure it out. LOL. And yes, the Haaretz link did not work for me either (hopefully that was in english right?). Is the mainstream article you mentioned going to be in english? Do you think you can give a general post on this in english with a context and some background? I would like to link to this on my blog. (I know you’re currently writing more in your Hebrew blog so I can understand if you don’t want to ‘repeat’ yourself..

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