Haaretz, May 13, 2017


For almost a year, Israel has prevented [Taher Yaakub] from returning to his home in Jordan. Reason: He declined the extortionist proposal of the Shin Bet security service that he collaborate with the organization – in return for being given an exit permit. In the wake of his fateful meeting with agent “Hemi,” Yaakub’s life has been turned upside down: Instead of being a production technician and a family man, he is working as a day laborer, cut off from his wife and three small children. His single offense: declining the offer made by “Hemi,” which is something you do at your own risk in the occupied territories.

[...] Yaakub refused to take the number. “I told you everything,” he said to his new master. “I am a blank paper. I have never been involved with politics. Don’t entangle me. I don’t want your phone number.” Now, Hemi lost his cool, Yaakub recalls: “Are you going to take my number or not? If not, go home and you will never be able to go to Jordan. Never.”

[...] All Taher Yaakub wanted to ask this week was, “Don’t people in Israel have children? Don’t they have families? Don’t they understand what it is to tear a family apart? Don’t they understand what hatred they are sowing in the hearts of my children, who are growing up without a father?”