A video has been released of farmer Boaz Albert’s latest confrontation with police.
“Hey, look at this, you’re going to enjoy this,” Albert greeted Border Police officers as they flooded his home in the Samaria (Shomron) community of Yitzhar. He then showed them a complex mechanism that he had used to chain himself to the floor of his home.
“I can’t give you that,” he can be heard saying. “I don’t have the key. Someone came and took it, I don’t have the key.”
Police struggled for hours to open the locks on Albert’s chains so that they could handcuff him and take him to a nearby police station.
While they dealt with the locks, police faced resistance on other fronts as well. Dozens of men crowded the Albert home for a Sukkot party, complete with singing and dancing, that had the effect of leaving police with little room to maneuver.
The men resisted as officers pushed their way through, dragging dancers off the floor when necessary. Children could be heard shouting and whistling in the background.
Each side accused the other of violence. An eyewitness told Arutz Sheva that one policeman hit a 9-year-old boy in the face, possibly giving him a concussion, and that another officer physically assaulted a woman who used her car to block a road.
A statement from police said, “When the forces arrived at [Albert’s] home, there were dozens of people at the scene who prevented the forces from reaching him, while using physical violence and throwing rocks, chairs, eggs and water at the officers. [Albert] used a metal chain to bind himself to a device he had prepared ahead of time.”
Extra forces were called in to drag protesters from the home, a process which took three hours, the statement said.
Boaz Albert has repeatedly refused to leave his home in the town of Yitzhar in Samaria (Shomron), despite an administrative order from the IDF ordering him to stay out of the Samaria region. The order was issued without a hearing or trial, and Albert says he has no idea why it was issued.
He has published an op-ed explaining his decision not to obey the order.
He has received support from several public leaders, including MK Moshe Feiglin, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who is the chief rabbi of Tzfat, and Rabbi Dov Lior, who is the rabbi of Kiryat Arba-Hevron.
The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, expressed support for Albert as well. “It’s a pity that the security forces saw fit to enforce a distancing order that is undoubtedly cruel, humiliating, and anti-democratic – and during the Sukkot holiday in particular,” he said.
Mesika called on Israeli lawmakers to reexamine the use of administrative distancing orders against Israeli citizens.
Benny Katzover, head of the Samaria Residents’ Council, expressed his support as well. “Resisting a distancing order is legitimate. A democratic state cannot allow a military commander to distance a person from their home without trial,” he declared.
Despite his woes, Albert appeared cheerful at the end of the brief video of Tuesday’s arrest. “You won’t get us out of here so quickly,” he said happily, as officers tried to figure out how to free him from his chains.
“I hope you have a happy holiday. We’re very happy here. I hope you also get to experience real Jewish joy. And come visit!” he concluded, speaking directly to the camera.