Israel Releases Last Jewish Extremist Being Detained Without Trial

Elia Nativ, 19, from the extremist settlement of Yitzhar, was held for about two months over suspected involvement in series of terror acts

Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger
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Elia Nativ, 19. His administrative detention ended on August 18, 2017.
Elia Nativ, 19. His administrative detention ended on August 18, 2017.Credit: Facebook
Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

The sole remaining Jewish prisoner being held under administrative detention was released on Friday, his lawyer said.

According to the Shin Bet security service, Elia Nativ was involved in vandalism against vehicles owned by Palestinians and property belonging to diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

Nativ, 19, was arrested some two months ago by the Shin Bet, shortly after Jerusalem District Court released him from regular detention. Another right-wing activist arrested with Nativ, Hanoch Rabin, was released from regular detention a few weeks ago but was not placed under administrative detention (which is detention without trial).

Nativ was released after his lawyers, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Sima Kochav of the Honenu organization, reached an agreement with the Shin Bet restricting Nativ’s freedom of movement by administrative order.

Security officials told Haaretz that Nativ is “very dangerous,” due to what they called his involvement and leadership in a series of terror acts. These included setting two cars on fire in the Palestinian villages of Hawara and Burin, and vandalizing vehicles near diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.

According to the Shin Bet, Nativ’s actions could damage Israel’s foreign relations, although no diplomatic missions filed complaints of vandalism against their vehicles.

Nativ appealed his administrative detention at Jerusalem District Court, which rejected his appeal in light of testimony by the Shin Bet. His lawyers then took his case to the Supreme Court, at which point the Shin Bet agreed to release him.

According to Ben-Gvir, Nativ’s movements are restricted to a farm near the settlement of Itamar, in the northern West Bank.

“It is regrettable that the Shin Bet [acts like] a hero when it comes to Jews,” said Ben-Gvir. “Only a few weeks ago it was reported that the Shin Bet was afraid to place the inciting terrorist Ra’ad Salah in administrative detention, but this did not prevent them from arresting this Jewish young man.”

Ben-Gvir was referring to the head of the now-outlawed northern branch of the Islamic Movement, who was arrested by the police last week on suspicion of incitement to violence.

The Shin Bet said Nativ was released at the end of the original period of his administrative detention because the detention order was not renewed, not because it was canceled. According to the Shin Bet, the release did not come because Nativ’s lawyers had turned to the Supreme Court, but because it had informed the court of Nativ’s impending release after the appeal had been lodged.

“Elia Nativ was placed in administrative detention due to his involvement in violent and dangerous activity against Palestinians and the security forces,” the Shin Bet said.

In general, administrative detention is imposed when there is not enough evidence to support a standard detention.

About 30 extreme right-wing Jewish activists are currently under administrative order. Restrictions on them include some being placed under nighttime house arrest, while others are banned from contacting certain other individuals. These orders are issued by the security forces, not by the courts. Four of the activists were placed under standard detention after they breached their administrative orders.

Four young Arab-Israeli men from Umm al-Fahm are currently being held under administrative detention orders. They were detained following last month’s attack in which two Israeli policemen were killed at the entrance to the Temple Mount.

The administrative detention orders, signed by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, are valid for six months.

According to the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, none of the four is identified with a political or religious group, and they have nothing in common other than the fact that they all lead religious lifestyles.

According to Al Mezan lawyer Omar Khamaisi, who represents one of the four men, much of the information against them involves social media posts, which he said do not reach the threshold of a criminal offense.

Administrative detention orders against Arab Israelis are considered very unusual. However, the latest orders have raised fears in the Arab community that the attack on the Temple Mount, which was carried out by three young men from Umm Al-Fahm, has led to a new policy of administrative detentions. Security officials say this isn’t true, and that each case is judged on its own merits.

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