In August, police handed out administrative restraining orders against several men from Yitzhar, banishing them from their Shomron (Samaria) hometown. Now, more than two months later, one expellee tells Arutz Sheva that far from putting a stop to his activities, the order has just increased his work on behalf of Jewish settlement.
After a difficult period of wandering following the expulsion, Akiva Hacohen and his family found a temporary home in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. There, he said, “I discovered, to my surprise, that the problem is worse than in Yitzhar.”
The problem in question is that of Arabs attempting to force Jews out, Hacohen said. In Yitzhar, PA Arab neighbors attack Jews obviously and directly.
In French Hill, dozens of Arab families have purchased apartments with “outside funding” of Arab origin, and are now trying to make their Jewish neighbors uncomfortable, Hacohen explained.
He emphasized that Jewish activists in the area do not use violence, but rather, simply use the Arab families’ tactics against them. When local Arab families allow their children and teenagers to behave wildly and threateningly so as to frighten away local children, activists react by standing firm and making it clear with a simple glance that their behavior is inappropriate, he said.
“The distance [from Yitzhar] has not only not prevented our activism, but has increased it… It’s true that it was the Shin Bet that sent us away, but the Ruler of the Universe is ultimately in charge, and apparently there was a reason we were sent from there and arrived here,” Hacohen declared.
In addition to working to strengthen Jewish communities facing Arab aggressiveness, Hacohen said he continues to train young men who are interested in defending Judea and Samaria towns, and to work against intermarriage and assimilation.
The journey has been a very difficult one, he noted. His young family was temporarily homeless, and now struggles financially as, unable to continue at his job in Yitzhar, he works in manual labor in the capital. The children suffer from their being forced to find new schools, and from being unable to visit their grandparents, he reported.
The Hacohen family – Akiva, his wife Ayelet Hashachar, their four children, and a fifth on the way – are facing another nine and a half months away from their home under the administrative order.