In Rare Move, Israeli Court Voids Order Barring 'Dangerous' Right-wing Activist From West Bank

Neither past violent behavior nor current intel labeling Yosef Prissman as a security risk warrant his expulsion from the West Bank, military judge says.

Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger
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Yosef Prissman.
Yosef Prissman.Credit: Yosef Prissman.
Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

An Israeli radical rightist activist who was barred from the West Bank after being labeled by the authorities as a security threat will now be allowed to return to the region.

Yosef Prissman, 22, who hails from the extremist settlement of Yitzhar, was removed from the West Bank by an administrative military order a year and a half ago, in light of classified intelligence showing that he poses a significant and immediate danger. His removal was part of a more general drive to expel right-wing activists from the West Bank, which became the policy of security services after the murder of the Dawabsheh family in Duma.

In a rare move, an Israeli military court of appeals this week has voided the administrative order issued against Prissman. According to the Honenu organization, which represents Jewish terror suspects, this is the first time since 2008 that an administrative order issued against a Jewish individual is voided. 

Earlier this month, Haaretz reported that Prissman was able to move freely across the West Bank for three weeks, following the expiry of an administrative order prohibiting his entry and before a new one was issued.

Court President  Col. Netanel Benishu said that the classified evidence presented by the security forces as to the risk Prissman posed wasn't enough to warrant his expulsion. The judge also criticized the army for failing to renew the order before the previous order expired.

"The use of administrative means like the order in question should be left for cases where there is real danger to the region's security," he said. 

"There is basis for the assertion that the appellant was involved in violent incidents in the past and that he influenced others to take part in violent incidents or incidents that have a violent potential," the judge noted, but said that he didn't find those past acts to be severe enough to warrant administrative restrictions. 

Furthermore, the judge said that the risk Prissman posed has been reduced in light of unspecified new information.

The Shin Bet security service and the Israel Defense Forces have told Haaretz in that recent information indicates that Prissman is highly dangerous. 

Prissman responded by saying that the cancellation of the order is an opportunity to "understand the confusion and lack of identity that has existed in the State of Israel for years. While Arab rioters set fires across the country, there are figures who choose to fight someone who dealt with legitimate protest."