Noam Federman?s Crime

In his book The Revolt - The Story of the Irgun, Menachem Begin teaches us the importance of prestige to a controlling entity....

Aliza Karp

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In his book The Revolt - The Story of the Irgun, Menachem Begin teaches us the importance of prestige to a controlling entity:

?History and observation persuaded us that if we could succeed in destroying the government?s prestige? the removal of its rule would follow automatically? Throughout all the years of our uprising, we hit at the British Government?s prestige, deliberately, tirelessly, unceasingly.

?The very existence of an underground? undermines the prestige of a colonial regime that lives by the legend of it omnipotence? Even if the attack does not succeed, it makes a dent in that prestige, and that dent widens into a crack which is extended with every succeeding attack.

??Politically, every attack was an achievement.?

Samuel Katz reinforces the importance of prestige in his book The Hunt for the Engineer - The Inside Story of How Israel?s Counterterrorist Forces Tracked and Killed the Hamas Master Bomber. Katz describes a successful terrorist attack in 1987, which penetrated an army base. The attack became known as the Night of the Hang Glider. This attack broke through the prestige, the protective image, of the Israeli soldier, and became the inspiration for subsequent attacks.

From Katz?s book: ?On the streets of Gaza, Tulkarem, Jenin, Hevron and Nablus, the Night of the Hang Glider? forever changed the image of the Israeli soldier in the eyes of the Palestinians. Revered as virtually superhuman, the Israeli soldier had been considered an icon: super fighter, super patriot, a uniform and weapon not to be crossed. The Night of the Hang Glider showed that he was not only human but vulnerable?

?Almost immediately after the Night of the Hang Glider, violence broke out in Gaza.?

Prestige - a commanding position in people's minds - enables control.

The General Security Service in Eretz Yisroel has high prestige - very high prestige. From the above quotes we can assume that prestige is not just one of their tools, but an important one of their tools. For them to maintain a high level of performance, someone who punctures their prestige cannot go unpunished.

In the days when the British were fighting Menachem Begin and the Irgun, they would detain suspects and hold them without evidence and without a chance to defend themselves, under what is known was administrative detention.

This past September, the GSS apprehended Hevron resident Noam Federman and placed him in administrative detention and proceeded to hold him under horrific conditions, much more severe than conditions of known Arab terrorists or known criminals, Jew or Arab. Until today, the GSS has not made public why they are holding Federman. Nor have they charged him with any crime. What appears to be his crime is his ability to undermine the prestige of the GSS.

Coinciding with Federman?s incarceration was the release of more than a dozen settlers. The GSS had made a sweep of the settlers in hopes of uncovering, exposing and crippling an underground movement organized to fight terror with terror. Specifically, to perpetrate terror attacks on Arab communities that support terror. The GSS held the settlers as long as the courts allowed and were forced to release them without one shred of evidence; nothing.

This was a real embarrassment for the GSS. They had used all their wile and were unable to discover a single lead.

If loss of prestige is connected to loss of control, then the GSS needed to do something to show they cannot be outdone. They may have been outsmarted, but they have more than brains, they also have brawn.

Wasting no time, they arrested Noam Federman, the man they considered to be the mastermind, whose knowledge of the legal system was deemed to be the cause of their failure and embarrassment. Federman has published material explaining how to sustain a GSS interrogation without incriminating yourself or others. The booklet basically informs citizens of their rights, but it has proven to be an obstacle to the GSS.

The GSS failed to keep their settler suspects behind bars, but with Federman, they were not going to fail. They circumvented the judicial system and detained Federman in a way that they would need no evidence. They would make no charges. They bypassed the court system, which Federman knows how to navigate, and denied him the most basic rights of an individual.

But the Federman tragedy does not stop at administrative detention. Federman has been placed in a very dangerous situation. He has been incarcerated together with Arab murderers. He is in a place where strange things could happen and there would be no outside witnesses. It is just over a year since Irving Rubin, head of the Jewish Defense League, met a very strange death in prison. These things ?just happen.?

Federman?s only way to protest is to refuse to eat. The only way to protect himself from food prepared by Arab prisoners is to refuse to eat. Perhaps by not eating, he might be moved to a hospital. His hunger strike may be his only hope, along with his prayers and our prayers, for surviving this precarious situation.

Searing the prestige of the GSS is Federman?s crime. If they let him free, they are opening themselves up to disgrace, with the possibility of future failures. If the public lets the GSS mistreat Federman without major resistance, they are opening themselves up to a rule of terror by the forces of the GSS.

In this week?s parsha, Vayishlach, Yaakov prepares to meet Esau. He sends messengers with gifts, he prays to Hashem for mercy and he prepares for war. All those concerned for Noam Federman must learn from Yaakov and pursue all the alternatives to victory.

On Yud Tes Kislev (which corresponds to December 14 this year) Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidim celebrate the release from prison of the first Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Shneur Zalman, who had been incarcerated because of the funds he sent to support settlers in Eretz Yisroel. On the day of his release, in 1799, his son?s wife gave birth to a daughter, who was named Menucha Rochel. Menucha Rochel?s love of Eretz Yisroel drew her to leave Russia. She settled in Hevron, was a community leader, and became legendary for her piety and her powerful brochas. Her resting place is in Hevron, overlooking the Jewish community.

As Yud Tes Kislev approaches, the day of Menucha Rochel of Hevron?s birthday and the day of liberation of the Alter Rebbe, in the month of the miracles of Channuka, may all these elements - Hevron, liberation and miracles - come together with the Federman family of Hevron reunited in happiness and in health.