Israeli Prisons Boast Petting Zoos, Meditation Rooms and Art Lessons


Sometimes the media accidentally reports one of the truths about Israel that its entire infrastructure exists to suppress. This is one of those times.

(Via Tom Gross)

At Hermon Prison in the Galilee, MSNBC noted that the facility looks more like a college campus than an American-style prison. Inmates are allowed a high degree of freedom of movement and can attend a wide range of sports and “therapy” classes.

At Neve Tirza, Israel’s only prison for women, the MSNBC presenters say they were surprised to find a petting zoo, and a meditation room with fish tanks. Inmates are shown taking dance and art lessons, and even nursing their infant babies in the prison’s fully equipped ward for new mothers.

At Rimonim prison, inmates are allowed to bring their own clothes and personal appliances with them to prison. Inmates cook together in communal kitchens, and prison staff eat food prepared by inmates. Jewish and Arab inmates socialize both with each other and with the guards, in what MSNBC terms “a very social and festive environment.”

“I feel like I am in a hotel,” says one Palestinian inmate as he shows MSNBC around his cell — which is bigger than many New York apartments I have visited — with kitchen equipment, bookshelves and a private bathroom. “Nothing is lacking.”

I wrote previously for Front Page about the good life of a Muslim terrorist in an Israeli prison, but that just scratches the surface.

With 1,200 prisoners, Rimonim allows family members to live communally. Some Israeli-Arab “crime families” share a cell of up to six people, with the largest incarcerated Bedouin family boasting twenty members housed in one wing. The families are given leeway to manage their own affairs, a key factor contributing to prison security and inmates’ well-being, according to Rimonim Prison Commander Chen Benderli.

“An enlightened society is judged by the treatment of its prisoners,” said then-High Court President Aharon Barak. “The prisoner has committed a crime and has been punished accordingly; his liberty has been taken away, but the human essence still remains. The prison walls must not come between the prisoner and human dignity.”

Don’t get the wrong idea here, Israel is not Sweden, but some prisons make extended accommodations for Muslims. People like Barak have been in the forefront of twisting Israel’s justice system into a pretzel for that purpose.