Political Activist Banned From Judea and Samaria

A Jewish pro-Yesha activist was expelled for three months from his home by IDF administrative orders with no explanation given.

Talia Zarbiv,

Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni signed the orders
Maj. Gen. Gadi Shamni signed the orders

Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov, a political activist known for his outspoken views in favor of Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, was expelled for three months from his home in the town of Tapuach on Monday. Fifteen soldiers and police officers woke him at night and presented him with an administrative order, signed by the IDF Central District Commander Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni, forbidding him to enter Judea and Samaria, where he lives and works.

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Administrative orders, a hold-over from pre-State British Mandatory law, allow the IDF to detain or limit the freedom of residents of Judea and Samaria without due process or judicial review. Such orders, issued without any charges, were traditionally used against Arab terrorist suspects for whom conclusive evidence of their terrorist activities was lacking. In recent years, Israeli governments have used the orders to restrict the movement or to imprison both Arabs and Jews.

“Essentially, there is a total lack of due process which would otherwise be required in a democratic constitutional country,” said Jerusalem-based Human Rights Activist Attorney Irving Gendelman.

“I can’t argue my case because I have no idea what this is about,” said Ben-Yaakov.

Neriah Ofan, a former decorated soldier from the Duvdevan unit of the IDF, also received the same administrative order.

Off the record, IDF officials explained that the government feared that Ben-Yaakov and Ofan were planning to organize protest activities against Arabs harvesting olives in disputed groves.

Ben-Yaakov said, "If that's their fear, then let them issue an administrative order prohibiting me from getting near the groves in question. But they are throwing me out of my home and job for three months, for a suspicion that has no basis in reality."

Click below for interview with Ben-Yaakov on Israel National Radio

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said the issuing of administrative orders violates a Knesset decision condemning previous use of the orders. One year ago, the government issued administrative orders against 21 Jews living in Judea and Samaria.

MK Ariel added, "The actions are even more severe in light of the fact that no such steps were taken against the Arabs and left-wing activists who uprooted 6,000 Jewish-owned vines near Nerya two months ago.”

Attorney Gendelman said usage of the law "lends itself to a totalitarian state whereby the government may incarcerate an individual because that individual opposes government policies or is thought to commit a crime in the future."

Ben-Yaakov directs Canines for Israel's Defense, an organization that provides protection canines for communities throughout Judea and Samaria. Canines for Israel's Defense is independent of the government but has helped the IDF catch and prosecute terrorists on several occasions.

Thinking about what to do for the next three months, Ben-Yaakov said, "If I had the funds, I would purchase an RV and go from city to city teaching, and inculcating youth and adults with true Zionist and Jewish values."

The Land of Israel Legal Forum is appealing the decision to issue administrative orders in a military court on Thursday. Supporters note that faxes can be sent to Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni at: +972-2-997-7326.

Letters of support can be sent to Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov at JewishLegion@aol.com .

Baruch Gordon contributed to this article.