Jewish man barred entry to Israel as political activist
Dror Feiler and his saxophone on board the Gaza-bound ship Estelle
Swedish citizen Dror Feiler appeals court to reverse entry ban, allow him to tend to aging mother. ‘Ban undemocratic, all Jews must be allowed in,’ he says
By Aviel Magnezi, Ynet news
November 03, 2013
Israeli expat Dror Feiler, banned entry to Israel due to his participation several Gaza flotillas, appealed to the Jerusalem District Court to reverse the ban and allow him to visit the country in order to tend to his sick, 90-year-old mother.
According to the appeal, the entry ban is politically motivated and as such is illegal. “If entry is not granted to every Jew, this isn’t a Jewish state,” Feiler told Ynet.
Feiler, who emigrated from Israel in 1973 and renounced his citizenship in favor of a Swedish one, took part in several Gaza-bound flotillas in recent years, including the 2010 flotilla organized by the Turkish IHH group in which the Marmara ship also sailed.
Following the Marmara incident, the State deported Feiler and issued a 10-year entry ban against him.
Over the weekend, Feiler and his 90-year-old mother Pnina, one of the founders of the Yad Hana kibbutz, filed an appeal claiming the ban is illegal and that it prevents Feiler from visiting his mother who is in serious medical condition.
According to the appeal, the ban is illegal as it was issued due to Feiler’s participation in the flotillas and not because of concerns for public safety, state security or illegal residency.
“The decision to prevent the plaintiff from uniting with her only son in Israel is arbitrary, disproportionate and unreasonable considering the severe blow against her constitutional right for dignity and family life,” the appeal reads.
The appeal details the mother’s severe medical condition and states that Feiler participated in the flotillas out of “devotion to non-violent protest” and that he was “brought against his will inside Israeli territory by the security services, in the course of their taking over the flotilla outside Israel’s waters.”
It was also argued that Feiler was deported from Israel due to illegal entry, even though he was brought into Israel against his will.
The appeal claims that when Feiler asked the Interior Ministry to reverse the ban, it replied that Feiler “acted against the State of Israel” and must bear the consequences.
“Defining the plaintiff’s non-violent protest against the Gaza Strip siege policy as anti-State activity is politically driven and wrong,” the appeal reads and concludes: “Participation in a political protest and voicing legitimate criticism against a specific policy mustn’t form the basis for deportation or entry bans, even if the respondent does not agree with them.”
‘Opposes policy, not State’
In an interview for Ynet, Feiler said: “If I broke the law let them put me up for trial. An administrative decision does not accord with a democratic state. A country which cannot listen to critics of its politics is in dire straits.”
Feiler said there are many like him in Israel who oppose Israel’s policies and stressed that he renounced his Israeli citizenship only because it was a condition for receiving a Swedish one.
“I oppose the policy, not the State itself, and I hope the court will grant me entry,” he added.
“If this is the Jewish State, Jews of different opinions must be let in as well.”
Feiler first made headlines in Israel in January 2004, when then Israel’s ambassador to Sweden, Tzvi Mazal, defaced artwork by Feiler and his wife called “Snow White and The Madness of Truth” presented in a Stockholm museum, which featured a portrait of Hanadi Jaradat, a Palestinian suicide bomber who killed 21 people in Haifa’s Maxim restaurant.