Yitzchak Herskovitz
Yitzchak HerskovitzBenaya Fendel and Ben Bresky

Yitzchak Herskovitz, 80, fought for 23 years to take possession of a home he owns in the Beit Safafa neighborhood of Jerusalem. After finally retaking his home Herskovitz quickly realized his battle was not over, as Arab neighbors began a campaign of harassment and threats.

Herskovitz says the campaign is led the Salah family, the Arab family that lived on his property for decades. The family is now living illegally on state-owned public land near his home, he says, and is apparently attempting to make life in the home so miserable that the Jewish tenants will leave of their own accord.

After many attempts to get help from the police failed to yield fruit, Herskovitz decided to take his battle to the court system. He filed an appeal against the Jerusalem Police for its inaction.

Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran ruled against Herskovitz’s appeal. He said Herskovitz had failed to adequately prove his claims against the Salah family.

Joubran also said that Herskovitz should have “gone through normal channels in order to promote the matter” before turning to the Supreme Court.

Herskovitz’s attorney, Baruch Ben-Yosef, expressed frustration with the ruling, and said he was particularly surprised at Joubran’s argument that Herskovitz should have done more before approaching the court. “What can a civilian do, besides filing complaints over and over with the police, who did nothing?” he asked.

He also expressed surprise at “getting a verdict without any deliberation regarding our main argument, that the Arab family is squatting on state land.” Ben-Yosef suggested that Joubran’s bias was at play, saying, “It’s not surprising that the one who wrote the verdict was no other than Justice Salim Joubran, the same judge who refused to sing the national anthem,” he said.

Herskovitz is doing well despite the latest setback, he noted.