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I just made a phone call to Israel. I think it cost me about 15 cents, with my phone card. What I got for that 15 cents, however, was worth much more than I can say.
I called Daniel Pinner's home. I don't know who picked up the phone, but when he said, "Daniel Pinner's residence," I began.
"I am calling from the United States," I said. "I just wanted you to let Daniel know that we are all reading about Daniel, writing about Daniel, sending e-mails about Daniel, and that Daniel shouldn't lose hope."
There was a short silence, then the man said, "Do you mind very much calling back so that I can let the voice mail answer, and Daniel can get your message directly? He would love to hear your voice."
I agreed, so I spent another 15 cents. This time, waiting though a message in Hebrew, then a message in English, then a beep. I'm not sure exactly what I said the second time, but I wanted to let this man know we haven't forgotten about him, about what he did, and about how the justice system has treated him.
I do remember that I said, "Someday, G-d willing, we will have perfect justice in Israel instead of the corrupt system we have now."
Daniel Pinner is an electrician who volunteered his time to help the people of Gaza by connecting electrical services to the abandoned Palm Beach Hotel. This hotel served as temporary housing for those who were intent upon protesting the destruction of Gaza communities by the Sharon government. Daniel Pinner made the mistake of taking a walk down the beach, where he was attacked by a mob of 50 stone-throwing Arabs.
Intent upon protecting himself and his companions, Daniel fired his Uzi into the air. The crowd dispersed, then reformed and began again throwing rocks. Daniel fired again into the air.
Four days later, after he returned home, he was arrested and charged with wounding an Arab. There is no connection between his gun and the wounded Arab, but he has sat in jail for over five months waiting for trial. The Israeli government says Daniel, a man with no criminal record, is too "dangerous" to let out.
I can't help but think that Daniel's main reason for sitting in jail is not that he was falsely accused of shooting an Arab in the leg, but that he is a member of the community of Kfar Tapuach. Kfar Tapuach is one of the most diverse towns in Judea and Samaria. Yemenite Jews founded the town nearly 30 years ago and it now has a mix of Russian, American and other Jews, along with various political and social opinions. But the town is marked. If you ever read a newspaper article about Kfar Tapuach, you will hear of it referred to as a "far right-wing settlement", or a place where "radical Jews" live.
It was the synagogue in Kfar Tapuach that dedicated a Torah with much pomp and celebration, only to hear the next day that the Israeli government was calling into question the "right" of the community to have built a synagogue in the first place. Then, the government demanded to know how the road had been built and, finally, they ordered the destruction of the synagogue.
Kfar Tapuach is also where David Ha'Ivri lives, the man who was accused in the infamous T-shirt trial. David also sat in jail for months for no reason before being acquitted of the heinous and dangerous activity of selling T-shirts.
If someone dares to live in Kfar Tapuach, or any of the other "settlements" that the Likud government deems troublesome, the inhabitants, no matter what age, are marked by the justice system for harsh punishment - regardless of their guilt or innocence.
It was from Judea and Samaria that girls as young as 12 were arrested and held for months to await trail for such dangerous activities as protesting the destruction of Gaza and yelling at Arab olive harvesters. These children are not dangerous criminals that need to be remanded until trial. They are kids from good families who wanted to take their opportunity to share in the history of the Jewish state and express the values that have been handed down to them through Torah - love of the land of Israel.
But this is the way the "justice" system works in Israel today. Justice, for those who live in Samaria, Judea and the former Gaza communities has become "just us". If you are a member of the communities that Likud slated for destruction, you are a criminal. It doesn't matter what you have done or not done, because they will find a way to make the arrest legitimate somehow. In the outside chance that they can't find a reason to hold you after the trial is over, they will have, at least, disrupted your education, your income or your personal life to such an extent that you will be permanently damaged in some way.
It is in this political climate that the new leader of Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu, has called for "expelling" members of his party who have a "criminal" record in the past ten years: namely Moshe Feiglin. Netanyahu is looking into legal options that would prevent anyone who committed a criminal offense in the past 10 years from belonging to the party.
Feiglin, former leader of Zo Artzeinu, the protest group that organized against the Oslo Accords, served six months in jail after being convicted in 1997 on charges of "seditious acts and publications" and "unlawful assembly." In other words, Feiglin dared to speak up against those who created the treacherous and dangerous situation of Oslo, which has lead to the killing and maiming of countless innocent Israelis in the name of "land for peace".
If Netanyahu is successful, look for more arrests and convictions of those who would protect the sacred land of Israel. Free speech, patriotism, Zionism and, especially, religious observance are threatening to men like Ariel Sharon and Netanyahu. If they can get rid of their political rivals by having them arrested and convicted for their political speech and actions, so much the better.
The lack of justice in the Israeli "Justice" system is more than inconvenient - it is dangerous. Today, it may be the "settlers" that the Likud government wants to silence. But who will it be tomorrow? When one man is in jail for an extended period of time without rights and another is targeted for expulsion from his political party, it should give every citizen, visitor and official of Israel pause.
Imperfect justice is expected, but corrupt justice threatens every person in the land of Israel. Daniel Pinner and Moshe Feiglin are just two men, but they could be you, or me, or your best friend, or a member of your family. We cannot stand by and watch these injustices without action. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately."
1. Daniel Pinner is a veteran immigrant from England, a teacher and an electrician by profession; a Torah scholar who has been active in causes promoting Eretz Israel and Torat Israel.
2. "Longest Anti-Expulsion Prisoner Daniel Pinner to Appear in Court
Thursday," December 11, 2005,
3. David Ha'ivri, chairman of Revava, is also editor of Darka Shel
Torah and Ideas in Action newsletters, and the publisher of books
teaching Jewish pride and faith in HaShem. He has set a goal to put
the Jewish people back on the footpath of our fathers, and build a
proud and strong nation whose national policy is based on Jewish
Contact him at email@example.com or go to his website:
4. Fendel, Hillel, "Netanyahu Bid: Push Off Primaries to Get Feiglin Out,"
This article appeared December 22, 2005 as an Opinion Piece in
Arutz-Sheva - www.IsraelNationalNews.com - and is archived at
Michelle Nevada is a religious Jew from rural Nevada. Michelle_Nevada@yahoo.com
This article appeared December 22, 2005 as an Opinion Piece in Arutz-Sheva - www.IsraelNationalNews.com - and is archived at www.israelnationalnews.com/article.php3?id=5877
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