A Day in the Life of Noam Federman

The police refused to believe Hevron activist//farmer/law expert Noam Federman that they had arrested him by mistake - twice! - and now they will pay. But that's not all.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 14:29

Federman's latest fling with the law - he has had more than 40 of them, the vast majority of them on the winning side - occurred this week, though it began last April. A policeman presented him with a detention warrant and asked Noam to accompany him to the police station. Federman explained that the warrant had been revoked, and that if he was forcibly detained, he would sue the police. The police took him anyway, kept him at the station for four hours, and then released him when they realized their mistake.

Unbelievably, the next day the same thing happened - though this time it took only 40 minutes of detention in the station before the police realized their mistake.

Experienced in these matters, the long-time activist - a veteran of almost two years under administrative detention in prison and house arrest in the Avraham Avinu quarter of Hevron - promptly filed suit in the Jerusalem District Court. The police did not respond to the suit, though they did say they would respond at a later date - and then proceeded not to respond by that date, either. The court therefore ruled this week that the police must pay Federman 20,000 shekels in damages for false arrest.

"This is not the end of the story," a jaded Federman told Arutz-7. "The police can still appeal the decision - though in any event there will be some kind of fine for failing to respond on time."

Awarded Damages for Wrongful Imprisonment
Federman had even more success, financially speaking, in a suit related to his lack of involvement in what was known as the Bat Ayin Jewish terror plot of five years ago. In May 2002, he was arrested in connection with the plot, but the evidence against him was said to be too secret to publicize. With the case against him gradually collapsing, he was placed under house arrest in June 2002, where he remained for most of the next 15 months.

In September 2003, he was actually placed in prison, though once again, the charges were not made known to him. This period of administrative detention lasted for nine months, until June 2004, after which he was again placed under house arrest for six months. In December of that year, conditions were improved, and he was allowed out of his house during the daytime.

Federman later sued for wrongful arrest and administrative detention, and was awarded 100,000 shekels in damages.

Things did not end there, however. In April 2005, Federman was served with the government's first detention order connected with the Disengagement, and was not permitted to leave his 110-meter home for some months.

All in the Family
Family-wise, Federman is:
• the son of Lechi fighter David Federman
• brother of Eli Federman, who, as a security guard in Tel Aviv in May 2002, shot and killed an approaching suicide terrorist before anyone could be hurt.
• husband of Elisheva, who was convicted two years ago of child neglect for bringing her child to a lengthy and rainy demonstration against the police destruction of the house of the widow of terrorist-victim Nati Ozeri.
• father of eight children, including:
** Yiskah, 17, who has been arrested more than once for demonstrating in favor of the Land of Israel; she refused to cooperate with what she called the "non-Torah legal system" and was kept in prison for many weeks,
** and a son, 12, whose finger was bent back by policemen at a protest over a year ago - for which incident a court ordered the police to pay him 1,500 shekels.

Barred from the Bar
Two months ago, the Ministry of Justice turned down Noam Federman's application to be licensed as an attorney. Despite his legal success rate in court - he has successfully defended himself in court many times - and despite his law school studies, he is currently not allowed to practice law in Israel. The official explanation is the many brushes with the law he has experienced.

Precise statistics are hard to come by, but in 2002, his wife Elisheva said, "Throughout my 12 years with Noam, the GSS [General Security Service] has constantly tried to incriminate him. He was charged 37 times, and acquitted 32 times."

Wishing to share of his experience, he has written pamphlets explaining the ins and outs of detainees' rights, especially as they pertain to nationalist-camp activists who are arrested and jailed.

He has filed a Supreme Court suit against the refusal to license him, but no date has been set for a ruling to be handed down. He feels he has a strong case, however, based partially on claims of discrimination. As he explained to Arutz-7, "[Israeli-Arab] Muhammed Burjal of Lod, who admitted to having planned terrorist crimes such as the kidnapping of soldiers, and another Israeli-Arab named Yassin Hussein who was convicted of spying for Syria, have received their law licenses. They can practice law in Israel and I can't!?"

A Breath of Fresh Air
What is Federman doing these days? Prevented from practicing law, and after long periods of being house- or jail-bound, he and his family decided to move to a different location: a hilltop outside Kiryat Arba.

"About a year ago," he told Arutz-7, "there was a genuine threat that outposts in Judea and Samaria were about to be destroyed. So we decided that, for a change of pace and air, we would move to one of them. We have a farm here, with horses, goats, chickens, and an olive-tree grove and other fruit-trees that I tend."

In whatever capacity - patriot and family man; an almost-lawyer and a farmer; activist and writer - Noam Federman continues to make the Israel Land/Nation/Torah triangle the focal point of his life.