Yitzhar minor ordered to stay on isolated farm

Thursday, June 23, 2016, 20:17 The uproar surrounding the administrative house arrest order served to the 15-year old from Yitzhar continues. Following the announcement from the minor’s Honenu Attorney that he will remain in his own home, in an unprecedented step the GOC of the Home Front Command, Major-General Yo’el Strik, ordered the minor to stay at an isolated farm in the south of Israel for the duration of the order, despite opposition from his parents. The parents have not given their consent to the arrangement and they are not acquainted with the owners of the farm. The minor’s father complained that, “They are trying to re-educate our son.” On Thursday, June 23, Major Yizhar Yitzhaki, the head of the Operations and Human Rights Branch of the Military Advocate General, sent a letter to the minor’s Honenu Attorney informing him that the minor must move that very day to an isolated farm in the south of Israel where he will receive, “a bed to sleep in, food, and sanitary facilities, as required.” The announcement raised the ire of the minor’s family, who are not acquainted with the owners of the farm and were not consulted concerning the arrangement. It is not clear whether the owners of the farm have agreed to receive the minor and if it legal for them to receive him if his parents object to the arrangement. “The gall and arrogance of the Jewish Department of the ISA had broken new records,” said the minor’s father. “Is taking a 15-year old youth who has done nothing and demanding that he be taken to an unfamiliar address, without any coordination with his family, something that is done in a democratic state? In the fifties Yemenite children were abducted under shady circumstances, and today [the authorities] are trying to take children from their homes in broad daylight for re-education. The natural place for my son is at home and it cannot be that because of confidential information, about which we know nothing, he will leave his home.” In response to Major Yitzhaki’s letter, Honenu Attorney Chai Haber, who is representing the minor, sent a letter informing the army again that the minor should not be removed from his home and that he is currently still at home. “The attempt to banish the minor to an isolated location in the south of the country is similar to dark regimes in which people were exiled for the purpose of reeducation. We are trying to explain to the authorities that it is not possible to treat a minor like an object and put him in various places, rather he should be at home with his parents,” said Haber. “This is what we would like and we hope that someone will come to his senses and not restrict the rights of a minor in this manner. One must remember that this is not a legal procedure, but rather an administrative procedure during which neither evidence nor any other material has been presented and which no court has overseen. The Youth Law protects the rights of the minor. There are also the youth probation service and the social service authorities. However here by an administrative and arbitrary decision by Major General [Yo’el Strik], based on information unknown to anyone, the rights of a minor are being trample to nothing.” On Wednesday, June 22, the National Council for the Child sent urgent letters to the GOC of the Home Front Command, Major General Yo’el Strik and to the GOC of the Central Command, Major General Roni Numa, demanding that they reexamine the administrative orders issued to the minor and urgently carry out, “a treatment assessment and examine the possible consequences of the legal proceedings to the well-being of the minor, in the short term and the long term, and examine alternatives accordingly. This is important first and foremost for the case of the minor mentioned in this letter, but also for the necessity of drawing conclusions concerning decisions of this type in the cases of other minors.” On the afternoon of Thursday, June 23 former Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari visited the minor to express support for him and his family: “[Arab youths] throw stones in Hawara [Arab town adjacent to Yitzhar] and at the light rail in Jerusalem, no-one knows how to obtain information about Operation Protective Edge, but the ISA is being tough with a 15-year old and throwing him out of his house without a trial. This is a crime, and I am astounded that the citizens’ rights organization are silent when they [the authorities] come to throw a youth out of him home by administrative order.”

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