Marwan, Yigal and Akiva

Just how far does Israeli theater of the absurd go?

David Wilder, Hevron

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Absurdity levels are difficult to measure. Defense Minister Amir Peretz gave orders forbidding apprehension of terrorists in Judea and Samaria without the express permission of the commander of forces in Judea and Samaria. In other words, if a wanted killer is seen standing on a street corner in downtown Jenin, an official request has to be issued before he can be arrested.
In addition, should Israeli forces spot terrorists in Gaza preparing to shoot a Kassam rocket at Sderot or elsewhere in southern Israel, the terrorists may not be stopped. They must be allowed to finish what they started; i.e., attempting to kill Israeli civilians in the state of Israel.
And finally, Ehud Olmert, speaking to the Knesset committee for defense and foreign policy, promised that Israel will "pay whatever price is necessary in order to release the POWs be held in Gaza and Lebanon."
What are the implications of the above three paragraphs?

1. Israel is opening coffee shop chains throughout Judea and Samaria, providing wanted terrorists a place to rest while the request to arrest them is processed.

2. Israel is opening coffee shop chains in Gaza for terrorists to rest and relax at following a hard day (or night's) work shooting missiles at Israeli citizens.

3. Rumor has it that the Palestinian Authority has included Yigal Amir's name on the list of prisoners it wants freed, right after Marwan Barghouti.
However, this is just the beginning. Just how far does Israeli theater of the absurd go? About two weeks ago, our friend Akiva Lebovitch received a military order, signed by General Yair Naveh, commander of the IDF's Central District, ordering him to report to Ma'aleh Adumim.

Akiva, twenty-two years old, grew up in Hebron. His parents and younger siblings live in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Late Friday afternoon, on July 26, 2002, one of Akiva's older brothers, Elazar, was driving his friend Neria Ben-Yitzhak and his new bride Sarah to Hebron, to celebrate the first Shabbat following their wedding. Terrorists opened fire on their car, killing Elazar. Only minutes earlier, the same terrorists shot and killed three members of the Dikstein family from Psagot.

Akiva, married less than three months ago, lives with his new bride in the Yitzhar community in Samaria. There, he studies in the local yeshiva, while his wife travels daily to the city of Ariel, where she attends the College of Judea and Samaria.

Security forces delivered a military order to Akiva that forbids him from being anywhere in Judea and Samaria for the next three months. He may not live in his new home in Yitzhar, nor may he visit his parents in Hebron. He can't even take a trip to Tel Aviv. The military order commands him to reside in Ma'aleh Adumim, just south of Jerusalem; for the next three months.
Why? According to the order: "After having studied the security material which has piled up against Akiva Lebovitch, I am of the opinion that it is necessary for definite security reasons that he be placed under special surveillance."
Just what is the "security material which has piled up" against Akiva? Ahh, that's a state secret, material compiled by the Jewish Section of the Shabak, the Israeli secret service, an organization that more resembles Stalin's secret police than a Jewish intelligence agency in Israel, 2006.

Where in Ma'aleh Adumim must Akiva reside? Is the army providing him with an apartment or a hotel room? Are they providing free transportation for his wife everyday to get to Ariel? (The order was addressed only to him, not to her.) What about his monthly stipend from the yeshiva?
Of course, the answers to the above questions are clearly understood: sleep in the street, eat air for three months, and forget about your wife. She's not dangerous; you are.
The restricting orders shocked the entire Lebovitch family. Akiva's father, Yossi, told me that the last time Akiva had any contact with the law was over three years ago, after participating in a Hebron demonstration. Since then, nothing.
They have no reason at all to restrict my son's movements. He hasn't done anything and was just married. Why should they make his life so difficult for him now, at this special time in his life? It was hard enough following the murder of his brother Elazar. But we've tried to mend our lives, putting them back together again - not an easy feat. Akiva and Moria (his wife) are so happy together. What did they do to deserve this?

If the security forces have information which incriminates my son, let them arrest him, present evidence, and give him a chance to defend himself. If they don't have any evidence against him, why should he be punished for not only something he didn't do, but for what he is not even able to know about? His alleged crime is so horrendous that it is a secret even from him?
Akiva isn't the first young man placed under "military house arrest" for unknown and undefined crimes against humanity. Over the past few months, 20 others preceded him in receiving such military orders, barring them from anywhere in Judea and Samaria.
Of course, protests against such deviations of justice are also illegal. One Saturday night last month, as he left his car in the vicinity of the residence of General Naveh, Hebron resident Noam Federman was immediately arrested, together with two young children, and held until four in the morning. Another of those apprehended of late was Rabbi Shmuel Yaniv, a well-known Torah scholar, who was disgraced by the police.
So, let it be known by one and all: it is forbidden to arrest Arab terrorists without permission, or to stop them from attacking Israelis even when the missile is in the launcher. However, harsh restriction orders against Israeli citizens who have absolutely no idea what they've done wrong is perfectly OK.
Maybe we can get Marwan to add Akiva's name to that list of prisoners, too?