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      Supreme Court: Defendant Motivated by "Ideological Fanaticism"

      Former State Prosecutor and current Supreme Court Justice Edna Arbel has sentenced a Yesha resident to house arrest, finding that his love of the land is based on "ideological fanaticism."
      First Publish: 4/4/2005, 3:43 PM / Last Update: 4/4/2005, 4:47 PM

      Ran Avraham, 50, a former elite IDF officer, is the father of ten children and owns a farm in the Itamar area of the Shomron. He was recently sentenced to house arrest after being charged with attacking Arabs who infiltrated his property.

      Popularly known as Avri Ran, he appealed the ruling, saying he was merely defending his property. He also said that he was unfairly discriminated against, as three other people involved in the incident were accused of graver crimes, yet the police demanded his - and only his - remand until the end of the proceedings.

      The Prosecution, for its part, also appealed the ruling, demanding that Ran be held under full arrest until the end of the proceeding against him. It claims that he represents a danger to the public, and that house arrest is not sufficient to neutralize this threat. "The danger he represents cannot be obviated merely by placing him under house arrest," the Prosecution maintains, "in light of the fear that he will not fulfill the requirements of his remand if his workers again notice Palestinians coming into his farm."

      Justice Edna Arbel ruled that Ran should remain under house arrest, pending the results of an investigation as to the extent of his dangerousness.

      Arbel said that Ran is an "ideological fanatic," and that there is room to fear that he will commit "similar crimes" in defending his property: "The picture that presents itself from the evidence presented before me ostensibly shows that the defendant grasps onto the land on the backdrop of ideological fanaticism, acting with determination to harm the plaintiffs... It appears that the source of the crimes allegedly perpetrated [by Ran] lies in his worldview and in the faith that it is his [mission] to defend the lands that he holds. I also accept the claim that there is room to fear that he is liable to perpetrate similar crimes in the future in the course of protecting the land for whose fate he is so concerned."

      In response to Ran's claim that he was discriminated against, Arbel wrote, "The principle of equality between defendants can take a back seat when it can be shown that there is an essential difference between them."

      She wrote that Ran was the "leader" of the incident in his capacity as owner of the farm, and also that his "weighty criminal past" must be taken into account. This "criminal past" includes, according to Judge Arbel, his conviction a number of months ago of attacking an Israeli-Arab who infiltrated his property. He was sentenced at the time to a six-month suspended sentence.

      Ran will remain under house arrest in his brother's home at least until April 10, when a report on the extent of the danger he represents will be presented to Judge Arbel.