Far-right Israeli Extremist Released From House Arrest After His Grandmother Kicks Him Out

Hanoch Rabin, suspected of acts of violence against Palestinians, was placed under house arrest at his grandmother's house – but no one checked with her before issuing the order

Illustration: A man under arrest.
Olivier Fitoussi

After an extreme right-wing activist was arrested for violating an administrative house arrest order that was issued even though he could not comply with it, the Jerusalem District Court ordered his release and berated the police for its conduct in this affair.

The Shin Bet security services arrested prominent activist Hanoch Rabin last month along with several others. While most of the others were suspected only of breaking administrative prohibitions on making contact with each other, Rabin and another activist were also suspected of committing violent acts against Palestinians.

At the security forces' request, the military issued an administrative order banning Rabin from Jerusalem and the occupied territories and an additional order restricting him to nighttime house arrest at his grandmother's house in a moshav near Ashdod.

However, no one had asked for the grandmother’s consent before issuing the ruling. According to Rabin’s friends, security forces verified his presence at her house occasionally, but after some time she refused to host him there. Rabin offered the authorities several alternatives to his grandmother’s house, including the houses of relatives in the territories or his parents’ house in Jerusalem.

The army rejected these offers, arguing that his parents’ house was unacceptable since he was not allowed into Jerusalem. They did not approve any changes to the initial ruling. According to his lawyer, Rabin left his grandmother’s house and was arrested shortly thereafter for violating the administrative order.

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court rejected the conditions of Rabin's detention and released him to house arrest at his parents’ house as he had requested, over the objections of the security forces. The Shin Bet appealed to the Jerusalem District Court, which also rejected the security agencies' arguments and released him to his parents’ home, while criticizing the state’s handling of the affair.

“The appellant claims that the respondent cannot be released to nighttime detention in Jerusalem due to a military order prohibiting him from being in Jerusalem. According to that logic, bringing him to a hearing at the Magistrate or District Court was also a violation of that order, as was holding him in detention cells in those courts," Justice Avigdor Dorot said at the hearing. "In my opinion, a judicial order regarding nighttime detention within Jerusalem does not stand in contradiction to the military order.”

During the hearing, state prosecutors argued that Rabin should remain in detention until the end of the investigation because he violated the prohibition against making contact with other activists, although they neglected to mention that they had previously agreed to release him from detention even though he had broken that prohibition. “This fact was concealed from the court, and in any case it undermines the request to keep him in detention until the end of these procedures,” wrote Justice Dorot. He rejected a request to delay the execution of this order, writing that “the respondent will remain under complete house arrest at his parents’ home for 48 hours in Jerusalem, pending the filing of an appeal of this ruling to the Supreme Court,” where the Shin Bet has now appealed.

“It’s amazing to see the General Security Service and the Home Front Command demonstrating such mindlessness, trying to compel my client, through an administrative order, without trial or evidence, to stay in a house in which the owner does not wish him to be," Rabin's attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir told Haaretz.

"We offered several alternative places where my client could be at night in compliance with the military order, but these offers were rejected. Under these circumstances I don’t understand why the court placed any restrictions on my client. I believe he should have been released unconditionally. I don’t understand what they want from my client now. Should he break into his grandmother’s house against her will?”

In response, the Shin Bet said: "For security reasons, namely Hanoch Rabin's involvement in violent and dangerous activity, various restrictions have been imposed on him, including a nighttime house arrest. The place where he was meant to spend nights was chosen in accordance with the level of risk he poses. If Mr. Rabin wants to change the place, he is welcome to bring his suggestions to the GOC Home Front Command, with whom his lawyer has been in continuous touch."