Eighty-year-old Yitzchak Herskovitz appeared in Jerusalem District Court yesterday - but not, for a change, in direct connection with his Jerusalem property that Arab squatters occupied for nearly 20 years. This time, he appeared as a witness in the State Prosecution's case against one of the squatters, Ismail Salah, who is accused of having attacked and hit Herskovitz.
The incident in question occurred nine months ago, when Herskovitz arrived at his property in southern Jerusalem - and Salah, who still lives in a house adjacent to the property, allegedly assaulted him.
The Salah clan, originally from the Bethlehem area, lives in Israel illegally, Herskovitz has long claimed - and he has documents from the Interior Ministry to prove it. "Ismail Salah is an illegal alien, and if the authorities would have deported him when they should have, this whole thing wouldn't have happened," Herskovitz says.
Herskovitz has thus been fighting for justice on two fronts: To retrieve his property, and to ensure that illegal Arab aliens are not permitted to remain in Israel unless and until their residency is legalized.
"You have to believe in justice," said Herskovitz, "and many times you have to fight for justice."
It is no exaggeration to say that had Herskovitz given up at any point during his 18-year battle to evict the illegal squatters, a prime piece of Jerusalem real estate - directly off Hevron Blvd., near Givat HaMatos and Beit Tsafafa - would have been lost to the Jewish People for generations into the foreseeable future.