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Alleged Jewish extremist to be held without charge despite court freeing him

Shin Bet orders administrative detention for Elia Nativ over ‘ongoing violent activities’ against Israeli security forces, Palestinians

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A car daubed with 'administrative price tag' in East Jerusalem, May 9, 2017. (Amar Arouri/B'Tselem)
A car daubed with 'administrative price tag' in East Jerusalem, May 9, 2017. (Amar Arouri/B'Tselem)

The Shin Bet security service on Tuesday issued a two-month administrative detention order against a suspected Jewish extremist despite a court ordering his release from custody earlier this week.

Elia Nativ, 19, was arrested last week by the security service over his suspected involvement in “price tag” attacks — a slogan used to describe Jewish hate attacks against Arabs and Christians. On Sunday, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court ruled there was insufficient evidence to hold him, and ordered his release.

Late Sunday night, the Shin Bet appealed the order to the higher Lod District Court, claiming that Nativ was part of the radical “hilltop youth” movement, and had violated a police order barring him from meeting other suspected extremists.

On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry issued the administrative detention order citing Nativ’s alleged “ongoing violent activities” in recent months.

Administrative detention is a controversial Israeli counter-terror measure that allows the indefinite detention of terror suspects without trial. The measure is regularly used against Palestinian detainees, and is increasingly being used against suspected Jewish extremists.

Graffiti reading 'Arabs out' and 'price tag' is sprayed on a wall in the Arab town of Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem, on June 9, 2016 (photo credit: Israel Police)
Graffiti reading ‘Arabs out’ and ‘price tag’ is sprayed on a wall in the Arab town of Abu Ghosh, near Jerusalem, on June 9, 2016 (photo credit: Israel Police)

Nativ’s lawyer, Itamar Ben Gvir, on Tuesday said he was prevented from meeting his client while Nativ was in custody last week, and slammed Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman for the “KGB-like” move.

“The defense minister and the Shin Bet crossed a red line and did something disgraceful,” he said.

In response, the Shin Bet defended the controversial measure, saying Nativ was “involved in vandalism and violent activity that endangers human life” directed against Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

Recent months have seen an uptick in anti-Arab hate crimes in both Israel and the West Bank.

Earlier this month, tires were slashed and the phrases “price tag” and “Kahane was right” were spray-painted in Jerusalem’s Beit Safafa neighborhood. Kahane was a rabbi and outspoken advocate of extreme Jewish nationalism who was assassinated by an Egyptian-born American in 1990.

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir from the Honenu legal aid organization seen during a press conference on December 17, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir from the Honenu legal aid organization seen during a press conference on December 17, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In late May, “price tag” graffiti was sprayed on a wall in the northern Israeli Arab village of ‘Ara, along with ‘regards’ from far-right activists barred from the West Bank.

Also in May, a tractor was set ablaze and graffiti reading “revenge” was sprayed on a wall in the Palestinian village of Burin, near Nablus, in the northern West Bank, while tires were slashed and “price tag” graffiti was sprayed near the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat and the Galilee village of Na’ura.

“Price tag” vandalism and other hate crimes are carried out by Jewish ultra-nationalists ostensibly in retaliation for government policies perceived as hostile to the settler movement. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted by nationalist vandals in recent years.

The Shin Bet launched the crackdown of Jewish extremists following the July 2015 killing of three members of the Dawabsha family in the West Bank village of Duma in a firebomb attack.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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