Yitzhar is a Jewish community in Samaria. According to the Israel Defense Forces, it is home to a number of particularly rowdy right-wing activists, most of them barely out of their teens and many of them, the army claims, dedicated to picking up fights with Palestinians in neighboring towns and villages. To keep the peace, the IDF often uses administrative orders that detain or restrict the movement of key suspects, a measure civil rights advocates in Israel have frequently decried as anti-democratic. Still, even in this tense situation, the punishment handed to Eliyah Nativ, a young resident of Yitzhar, stands out: He is forbidden from associating with himself.
Last week, Nativ received a letter from central command chief, Major General Nadav Padan, informing him that given his previous entanglements with the law, he is hereby forbidden from being in contact with a group of 20 people, most of them fellow activists. Among the names on the list? Eliyah Nativ.
Which, according to Honenu, a nonprofit legal aid group, is much more than just a typo. The organization, which is representing Nativ, said in a statement that “the quantity and the ease of issuing restricting administrative orders, which severely curtain the freedom of civilians, should trouble every citizen. The major general should’ve have done the minimum required and made sure to check every line in the order. When you hurt young men like that, you can’t just treat your order as if was a grocery list.”
Yitzhak Nativ, Eliyah’s father, called the procedure against his son “Kafkaesque.” In an interview with the Israeli press, he said the administrative order against his son “was a new height of absurd. According to the major general, my son is prohibited from contacting himself, speaking to himself, or residing in the same place as himself.”
The IDF spokesperson’s office apologized for the error, but denied allegations of any systemic wrongdoing.