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The 'home' for Hilltop Youth
9 teens arrested in police raid of Jerusalem 'home' for Hilltop Youth
Settler Elkana Pickar, who has been barred from entering the West Bank, is hosting Jewish teens with similar bans at his home; security establishment worried he's inciting them to violence against Palestinians.

Police raided on Monday a "home" in Jerusalem for Jewish teenagers barred from entering the West Bank, arresting nine of the teens.

 

 

A gag order has been placed on the entire investigation, including the suspicions against the teens.

 

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who represents some of the suspects, called on the Israel Police and the Shin Bet to "stop the persecution to calm the tensions."

 

Elkana Pickar at the 'home' for Hilltop Youth (Photo: Amit Shabi)
Elkana Pickar at the 'home' for Hilltop Youth (Photo: Amit Shabi)

 

"The police abuse the Hilltop Youth (nickname for Jewish settler youth who set up illegal outposts across the West Bank), persecute them and are being cruel to them. In a situation like that, the responsibility for 'price tag' incidents rests the police's shoulders alone," Ben-Gvir claimed. "When you persecute young people to complete destruction and push them up against the wall, it is no wonder some of them react and can't sit idly by." 
 

The "home" raided by the police was established by Elkana Pickar, a resident of Yitzhar who was barred from the West Bank with an administrative order after the Shin Bet determined he posed a danger to security in the area.

 

A Shin Bet agent spoke to Pickar several weeks before the administrative order was issued against him, asking him to stop hosting Hilltop Youth in his home. Pickar, a building contractor, said he was employing the teens and was merely providing them with a place to eat and sleep.

 

Pickar is also suspected of rioting and other violent actions against both Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

 

 

The Shin Bet presented the court with a photo of Pickar from March in which he is seen masked and claimed he was involved in two violent incidents that took place in recent months.

 

Pickar's lawyer, Menashe Yado from the Honenu organization, claimed the photo was taken during a Palestinian riot in which IDF troops used tear gas to disperse the crowd, which was why his client was masked.

 

The judge shortened the length of Pickar's ban from four months to two, but at the same time determined there was real concern Pickar was inciting the teens staying at his home to violence.

 

 

After he was banned from entering the West Bank, Pickar opened the Jerusalem house he's staying in to teenagers who were received similar orders.

 

The floor in the entrance to the house is covered with mattresses, while a door inside the house is adorned with photos of teens who were arrested and are serving prison sentences for violent offenses.

 

Inside the 'home' for Hilltop Youth

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Pickar claims the teens work in temporary jobs during the day, while in the evening they gather at the house to study Torah.

 

"I'm doing what I believe in, which is why I will not stop. All I'm doing is help teenagers," he said, further claiming he is not involved in any violent activity.

 

Over the past few months, there were six violent attacks against Palestinians across the West Bank and in Jerusalem.

 

At the same time, dozens of administrative orders barring Hilltop Youth from the West Bank have been renewed.

 

"The combination of lawlessness and the construction offenses of the Arab population is what causes unrest in Judea and Samaria. It leads to frustration among the teens in the settlements, and I believe it enrages them. We can all see the ramifications of that," Pickar claimed.

 

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