From Underground to Overpowering

In fact, one of the members of the alleged ?Second Jewish Underground? was questioned about it during his interrogation. The suspect told his interrogator that his rabbi had organized a Jewish underground. The interrogator perked up; finally, <i>he</i> would be the one to get a lead, something to incriminate at least one of the suspects. ?What was his name?? the interrogator eagerly asked. ?Yosef

Aliza Karp,

Why is Noam Federman behind bars?

After 18 months of house arrest, without being found guilty of any crime, he is now being held in jail, under administrative detention.

I first learned about administrative detention in spring 1996, when Rabbi Yitzchok Ginsburg was incarcerated. This is what I wrote about it then: ?Administrative detention is a legal relic that remains in Israeli law since the days of the British Mandate. It has been used primarily against terrorists, when revealing evidence would be a breach of security. Recently, this type of arrest has been used against rabbis. HaRav Ginsburg was under administrative detention. When he was first given a chance to defend himself, he did not know what charges he faced. He was defending himself against what the prosecution kept referring to as secret material and secret information.?

Lately administrative detention has become in vogue, hence the Federman incarceration.

My first encounter with Noam Federman was in 2001, when I was writing about the resilience of the residents of Hevron, who were the targets of frequent gunfire from their Arab neighbors: ?Federman studied law and goes every day to Jerusalem to help people who face police charges and cannot afford to pay a lawyer. Almost all the charges are dropped within a few hours. At times, he helps as many as six people a day, often more, all of them from Yesha. Arutz Sheva reported an example on Monday May 5: ?Police prevented the Jews from exiting Tapuach, and it is unclear why Herzlich was being detained.??

Now it is Federman himself who is being harassed. He has done a brilliant job of defending himself, but logic and law are not relevant when it comes to administrative detention.

On September 29, Arutz Sheva reported: ?Federman insists the administrative detention is illegal, and is an attempt by the state to bypass the judicial system. Federman is calling upon the state to charge him with a crime if there is evidence against him or release him from detention.?

The secret service has unsuccessfully tried to link Federman to the ?Bat Ayin Conspiracy,? yet he continues to be confined. Federman is a family man. House arrest and administrative detention have disturbed his life. He needs to be able to earn a living and be there to raise his children. It is still unknown if he will be given permission to attend the upcoming Bat Mitzvah of his eldest daughter.

Federman lives in Hevron and is a student of Rabbi Kahane. Does that give the GSS the right to lock him up? His place of residence and his political convictions?

Sounds like Stalinist Russia, when sufficient grounds for arrest and incarceration was the paranoia of the political leader.

I would venture to say that the current politicians in Eretz Yisroel have reason to be paranoid. They have to keep up the campaign to paint a black picture of settlers and popular personalities amongst them.

Federman, the dozen suspects of the ?Second Jewish Underground?, and many others like them, have charisma, integrity and solid ideals, which they do not compromise. If the public would know the truth about these fine people, many politicians would start to look pale by comparison, if not comatose. So, there is constant campaign of needless arrest and accusations, which get wide press coverage with careful calculation that little or no coverage is given to the confirmation of the innocence of the suspects. And it works. There is definitely a public image, in some circles, that settlers range from unruly to criminal.

But we are a people with a history. We can look to what happened in Stalin?s time, when arrests due to paranoia were rampant, and see what eventually became of a Jewish underground that acted in defiance of that government.

In fact, one of the members of the alleged ?Second Jewish Underground? was questioned about it during his interrogation. The suspect told his interrogator that his rabbi had organized a Jewish underground. The interrogator perked up; finally, he would be the one to get a lead, something to incriminate at least one of the suspects. ?What was his name?? the interrogator eagerly asked. ?Yosef Yitzhak,? came the answer. ?You mean Yosef Yitzhak ___, of Tzfat?? anticipated the well-prepared interrogator. ?No, Yosef Yitzhak Schneersohn,? came the answer.

Then the interrogator ended up listening to a complete account of how Yosef Yitzhak Schneerson, the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, conducted an underground network of yeshivas in Russia during the time of Stalin, when teaching Torah was forbidden. Risking their lives, sometimes giving their lives, the underground also provided Jews with illegal goods and services, such as Pesach matzah, kosher food and brit milah.

It was a generation of mesiras nefesh, self sacrifice, for the Lubavitchers. But it paid off. The ones who held their ground yesterday are the leaders today, as the Lubavitch movement is scrambling to keep up with the overflowing demands on them to provide teachers and religious articles and programming? all with the blessings of the current regime.

When asked why he is so supportive of the work of the Lubavitcher Chassidim, Russian President Putin responded, ?I remember from my days in the KGB how they were the ones to accomplish so much.?

Last spring, after his return to Hevron following six months of being forbidden to go to his home, also without being convicted, I asked Hevron activist and Knesset candidate Boruch Marzel how he manages to keep his spirits up, when dealing with a Jewish judicial system that is so unreasonable, hostile, destructive and unjust. He answered that he saw it as part of the struggle for Eretz Yisroel.

As difficult as it is for Noam Federman and his wife, Elisheva, and their children, they will not be discouraged by this setback. They will not ?learn a lesson? from prison and change their attitude. They will remain strong. They will defend their honorable ideals.

Just as Yiddishkeit is now flourishing where it was once forbidden, we can be sure that the people, like the Federmans, who claim Eretz Yisroel for Am Yisroel on the basis of Torat Yisroel will prevail.

May it be sooner than soon.

Shana Tova.






top