Photo Credit: Honenu
Elkana Picard

The story you’re about to read has nothing to do with the voyagers of the star ship Enterprise, and yet, when your name is Picard and your story is reported by some New York Jews of a certain age, there are obvious consequences.

Elkana Picard, a resident of Yitzhar, married with children, was removed from his home two years ago by an administrative order. After Picard appealed the order, the court accepted the appeal in part, stating that “there is no clear evidence of appellant’s direct involvement in acts of violence.”

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Nonetheless, the Shin Bet spokesperson released a photo of Picard in which he appeared masked, concurrent with the publication of other articles describing masked violence in Yitzhar. Anyone who saw both the photo and the article would have had to conclude that he was Linked to the violence in Yitzhar. Picard now demands from the Shin Bet NIS 70,000 ($20,000) in compensation.

“Anyone who saw Picard with a masked face flinched,” said his attorney, Menashe Yado, from the Honenu legal aid society. “Now his real face is revealed, the masked face, a Jewish terrorist – but it is all fake, an intentionally misleading impression. They created the impression that Picard, who presents himself as a social worker, in fact uses violence against Palestinians – it’s a deliberate lie at the expense of his good name.”

The truth behind the picture is completely different. The cut photo was taken from an Arab Facebook page (see a portion of it above), describing an event in which thousands of PA Arabs marched toward Yitzhar, threw stones at soldiers and residents, in a well orchestrated riot. Facing the rioters was a military force, supported by a few residents of Yitzhar, including Picard. He was using the mask as protection from the tear gas that was used by the soldiers against the rioters.

The complete video from the incident shows that Picard did not commit any violence, and later on lowered his mask to talk to one of the police officers at the scene. According to Attorney Yado, “this is a nasty and false publication that portrays Picard as a masked terrorist. An ugly lie which should be banned from publication.”

The court’s state of mind regarding the suit may have been revealed recently, when the Shin Bet requested to hold the hearings behind closed doors, and Jerusalem Magistrate Judge Michal Hirschfeld rejected the request, arguing that “the public hearing principle is fundamental in our system. There is no need to violate the principle in advance today, only for fear it might be required at some point in the future … The request to hold the closed-door hearing is denied.”

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