Sapir and Yinon Levi
Sapir and Yinon LeviArutz Sheva

Yinon and Sapir Levi are residents of the Meitarim farm in the southern Hebron Hills. Last week, Yinon discovered that the United States had added him to a blacklist and would be imposing sanctions on him. The couple visited the Knesset on Wednesday to tell their story to Israel's lawmakers.

In an interview with Arutz Sheva-Israel National News, Yinon and Sapir say that they were only made aware of the issue a few days ago when a reporter called them on the phone and asked Yinon for a comment on the fact that President Biden added him to a blacklist. "I thought it was a mistake. I didn't believe it, that Biden would be occupied with me. I said that I thought there was a mistake, but after a few minutes I got a lot of messages and I understood that it was true."

The claim that he is dangerous sounds far-fetched to Levi. "They claim that a lot of settlers are dangerous," he says. "The anarchist leftist organizations that caused this are pained that we watch over our state's lands." Sapir, in turn, is having trouble understanding where the US gets the authority to meddle in Israel's domestic issues. "I call on the government to protect us from foreign sanctions and I don't understand why the bank is so gladly cooperating with this."

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Regarding the couple's visit to the Knesset, Sapir says that they feel that there is sympathy for their troubles on one very specific part of the political spectrum, but "other than that, we haven't found sympathy. We have no one to turn to and to talk with. Even when we contact them, they don't respond."

Two of Sapir's brothers have been wounded since the war broke out. One of her brothers was wounded on October 7th at the Supernova Festival and immediately after recovering returned to the battlefield and her other brother was wounded by an antitank missile in Khan Yunis. This week, that brother was added to the British list of sanctioned individuals.

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Does Yinon regret anything he has done? "Not at all. The opposite. We only see the support we get from the people of Israel in light of this. Biden's order is against anyone who stands in the way of the establishment of a Palestinian state. We are only the opening to this story. It starts spreading slowly. We will see it a whole lot more.

I hope the state will know how to solve the problem before it gets much bigger. We are at a difficult moment, but I'm sure that within a short time, we'll find other ways if the banks don't come off the tree they climbed up. We'll be tough."

Regarding his legal status, which may have brought him to the blacklist, he says: "There was a complaint by Palestinians who complained to the police about a few things. I was in a few police interrogations and the police understood that the complaints were baseless and I was released after an hour or two. Nothing was left open."

Sapir talks about their farm in the southern Hebron Hills where they are raising about 200 sheep and with the sheep's presence, they have been securing state land for three years. "When we came to establish the farm, it was through the planning board and in coordination with the District Coordination and Liaison Office," Yinon emphasizes and notes that "Arabs have come and stood in front of us. As far as they're concerned everything is theirs. Anywhere they go is theirs. There is no difference between state lands and disputed lands or private lands. As far as they're concerned everything's theirs. They get help from MKs who also think there's no difference between the different properties.