Elkana Picard and family
Elkana Picard and family Avraham Shapira

The Ofer military court today (Wednesday) heard the appeal filed by Elkana Picard against the administrative restraining order signed by Central Command Chief Roni Numa, keeping him away from his home for four months.

At the hearing, Picard was represented by attorney Menashe Yado of the Honenu legal aid organization, who argued against the use of administrative restriction orders in general, and specifically against the use of the order against Picard.

At the end of the hearing, the judge postponed the decision to a later date, allowing Picard to return to his home until 12:00 today in order to allow him to organize and separate from his family.

Picard, a father of six and a contractor working with Jewish labor, opened his house which serves as a kind of warm home for "hilltop youth." They eat at his home on Shabbat, find a sympathetic ear, and Picard even holds Torah lessons for them.

At the time the notice of intention to issue an administrative order was served, he was told by the Shin Bet representative that if he ceased hosting his youth at home, the order would not be issued against him, an enticement that Picard scorned with indignation.

This morning, a farewell event will be held in Yitzhar, attended by all the educational institutions and yeshivas in the town. The event joins wide-scale protest activity that took place recently, culminating yesterday with Yitzhar secretariat's announcement that all further contact and coordination with the IDF will now go through Picard only.

"As long as the order is in effect, any contact with elements in the defense establishment (except for ongoing security activity) will take place only in coordination with Elkana, because Elkana is Yitzhar and Yitzhar is Elkana."

Attorney Menashe Yado, representing Picard, stated after the hearing: "During the hearing, our hands were tied because the main decision was made behind a smokescreen on the basis of evidence that was not presented to us and arguments and interpretations that were not heard. This is the moral choice of the State of Israel to impose dictatorial sanctions against broad strata of the population of Judea and Samaria. The most difficult thing is that the order will give a boost to Palestinian popular terror that will frighten the command's fear of confrontation and increase the pressure, unfortunately, right there in Yitzhar."