Israelis from Samaria (Shomron) who were ordered to pay 5,000 shekels to attorney Michael Sfard, a veteran left-wing activist who advocates the removal of Jews from Judea and Samaria, got a small form of revenge this week when they showed up at his office with the payment - in the form of eight buckets full of coins.
Eight youths from the region carried the buckets, which held the entire payment in 0.10-shekel coins (agurot).
“Attorney Sfard represents those who hate Israel. So we saw fit to give him his payment in 10-agura coins, so that at least he’ll find it hard to use the money,” explained Sagi Kaisler of the Samaria Residents Committee.
The story of the coins began with a lawsuit that Sfard, who is known for representing far-left organizations such as Yesh Din and Peace Now, filed on behalf of a Palestinian Arab who claimed ownership of land somewhere in the Shilo area of Samaria.
Despite the man’s lack of proof of ownership of any specific plot of land, Sfard asked the court to order the demolition of a Jewish farmer’s orchard located on one small part of the area in question. Sfard argued that the IDF’s Civil Administration could confiscate the land on which farmer Yonatan Rothschild had planted his trees under a “disruptive use order” (tzav shimush mafria), even without proof of ownership.
Sfard did not inform Rothschild that he had filed suit to destroy his farm.
Attorney Doron Nir-Tzvi, who represents the Samaria Residents Committee, heard of the lawsuit, and of the fact that Rothschild had not been notified, and asked the court to add him as a party to the suit. The Supreme Court responded by referring Nir-Tzvi to an appeals committee, which, justices said, would be able to deal with the issue of land ownership.
When the Samaria Residents Committee realized it had no chance of saving Rothschild’s orchard through the court system, it withdrew its suit. The orchard was demolished in January, in an event local Jewish leaders said sparked the kidnapping and beating of several Jewish men later on the same day.
Despite the fact that it had withdrawn its suit, the Samaria Residents Committee was ordered to pay Sfard 5,000 shekels in court fees.
“We respect the court, so we paid what it ordered us to pay in time,” Kaisler said. “But at the same time, it was important to us to make it clear to Attorney Sfard that his war against Israeli settlement will not succeed, and that we will use every legal means at our disposal to make it difficult for him.”
Kaisler himself recently saw his home bulldozed by authorities in what local activists say was a politically-motivated act.
Staff in Sfard’s officer were surprised at the unorthodox payment method chosen by the Samaria Residents Council, and asked for a several-day extension to allow them time to count all the coins before they issue a receipt.