Russian Compound, Jerusalem

Michal TZ. (present and reporting)

translated by Charles K.

Hagit and Muhammad were called as witnesses in the trial of the woman referred to below, who is accused of attacking Hagit and the late Tamar Golan during their shift in August, 2009. Despite the fact that she’s a “wild bull,” this is the first time that she’s been accused of behavior involving us.  So we drove to Jerusalem [I accompanied them, to “hold their hands”]

The magistrates’ court is located in an old, fairly neglected building.  Long corridors, small rooms, much confusion. That’s how the state of Israel treats its citizens, upholds the law and does justice. The “courtroom” can’t be larger than 30 square meters [if that], so the players and judge are in almost intimate contact with each other, as well as with any spectators who manage to get in.

There’s room for about 15 people, including those on trial, their defenders and other interested persons. The stenographer tries to understand, hear and write what’s being said; sometimes the judge simply dictates to her.

The case before ours has ended.  Those involved had to receive a printed transcript and then our case was to begin. The printer broke down; the stenographer tries to fix it. A paper jam, the judge tries to help, he seems to have succeeded, but – no, another paper jam, another attempt to clear it. They call a technician, he tries, doesn’t succeed – there’s no alternative but to call a recess.

Our trial begins after a delay of almost two hours. In the interim everyone had been replaced, including the stenographer, but later she returns. They begin hearing testimony. Anat’s attorney says she told him there was someone from Machsom Watch [me] among the spectators, and perhaps she shouldn’t be there. The judge explains the rules of democracy to him; I’m permitted to remain on condition I say nothing to the witnesses waiting outside – that is, to Hagit and Muhammad. OK – so I listen to the testimony of the police investigator and the commander of the Cave of the Patriarchs police station, and obey instructions.

I gritted my teeth, said nothing. Another recess. Hagit, who’d been summoned for 10:00 AM, finally entered at 1:00 PM to give her version. I’m not allowed to discuss the case, because the trial isn’t over. Anat Cohen’s defense attorney is constructing an “interesting” foundation for her defense, and for two hours Hagit is exposed to a rain of questions and proofs in support of his claims.  She does very well, successfully combating his attempts to defend that…woman. Once again I’m almost removed from the courtroom because one of Anat’s supporters heard me saying something significant [I couldn’t restrain myself], and Hagit, who hadn’t heard, used the same word. He whispered something to the defense attorney, who complains to the judge that I’m “assisting” Hagit. The judge [who, it must be said, is smart and pleasant], reminds me that I’m not allowed to do that, and…if it happens again…I’ll be removed from the courtroom.

OK, so I shut up, which wasn’t easy. While all this was going on people dealing with other matters kept coming in to the judge, he’d stop and see what they wanted, respond and then returned to us.

Great confusion, heavy burden on the judge. It’s very hard to respect this setup and the way our “justice” system operates.

Even though we know that the law is more likely to create order than to do justice, there’s not much order here.

The trial isn’t over. The attorneys asked the judge to be allowed to leave at 3:15PM to pick up their children from kindergarten. Real life intrudes here with all its power.

The judge announces the trial will continue on Wednesday. Mohammad was unable to testify today. There are more questions for Hagit. They’ll have to return. 

We’re warned not to discuss the content of the trial until then, so we haven’t.

In any case, maybe justice will be done and Anat will be punished in some manner that will force her to “calm down” a little.