Yitzhar teen arrested, to be sent to ‘reeducation’ farm

June 24, 2016  

Around 3:00 a.m. on Friday, a large force comprised of police officers, detectives and the Israel Security Agency (ISA, also known as the Shin Bet or Shabak) raided a Yitzhar home to arrest a 15-year-old for violating the terms of an administrative order.

The teen’s relatives say that the security forces broke into the home without presenting a warrant, confiscated the parents’ phones and refused to let the father escort his son to the police station as required by law for minors.

In addition, the police refused to let the teen take his personal belongings and tefillin.

The youth was served with an administrative order for violence against Palestinians. In an unusual step on Thursday, the head of the Homefront Command told him that he must take up residence in an isolated farm in southern Israel, even though his parents do not know the farm and did not agree to the move.

Major Yizhar Yitzhaki, the head of operations and human rights in the military prosecution, wrote a letter to the boy’s lawyer saying that he will receive “a bed to sleep in, food and sanitary services as required” at the farm.

The youth’s family was outraged by the treatment, both because they are not familiar with the farm and because no one discussed the issue with them. It is also not clear whether people on the farm have agreed to take in the boy or whether they would do so knowing that his parents object.

“The ISA’s Jewish Department’s audacity and the arrogance is setting new records,” said the father. “To take a 15-year-old child who hasn’t done anything and toss him off to an unknown address without coordinating with the family is something done in a democratic country? In the 50s they took Yemenite children in the dark, and now they’re trying to remove children from their homes for reeducation in the light of day. The natural place for my son is at home and it’s not right that, based on classified information that we have no idea about, he should leave his home.”

Chai Bar, the attorney from the legal defense organization Honenu who is representing the youth, sent a response letter in which he stated it’s unreasonable to remove a youth from his parents’ home and that he is currently not residing at home.

“The attempt to remove the minor to an isolated spot in southern Israel is similar to rogue nations reeducating people. We are trying to explain to the authorities that they can’t treat a child like an object and put him wherever they like. His place is in his parents’ home. We hope that someone will come to their senses and not limit the minor’s rights like this.”

The youth is expected to appear in a Petah Tikvah court later today.

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