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October 14, 2015 / 1 Heshvan, 5776
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Yitzhar Leaders Finally Urge a Halt to Violence against IDF

Yesha leader have a problem condemning violence if it carried out “for the cause.”
Aftermath of Jewish  "price tag" vandalism against Arabs.

Aftermath of Jewish "price tag" vandalism against Arabs.
Photo Credit: Flash 90

Leaders of the community of Yitzhar, in northern Samaria, finally have come out with an appeal to its youth to stop violence against the IDF.

Dozens of attacks against IDF vehicle and bases have taken place throughout Judea and Samaria over the past two years, many of them allegedly caused by a band of hooligans from Yitzhar.

Last week, a Yitzhar teenager allegedly slashed the tires of an IDF commander’s vehicle, apparently in revenge for the government-ordered demolition of a home. Following more demolitions earlier this week, dozens of residents, some of them grown men, went on a  rampage. They threw rocks at police, injuring several of them, and ransacked an IDF post manned by reservists who were stationed to defend Yitzhar from Arab terrorists. For their trouble, the soldiers’ personal and army equipment was trashed.

Two days later, Yitzhar leaders decided to announce they are opposed to violence, but their calls were limited to attacks against the IDF. No mention was made of “price tag” attacks against Arabs through collective punishment.

The leaders also explained that they understand why the vandals take action. Indeed, everyone is frustrated by the government’s demolitions of homes, a policy that the leaders called an attempt to eliminate Yitzhar.”

But they hastily added that the explanation was not intended to justify the violence.

Communities in Judea and Samaria, and the umbrella Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria known  as Yesha, always have had a problem distinguishing good settlers from bad settlers.

In the rare instance when the leaders, and once or twice even rabbis, condemn violence, it always includes a “but.”A letter from Yitzhar leaders stated that the violence “produces a very negative response’ and gives Yitzhar a public black eye.

The message is that violence is wrong because it damages the reputation of Yesha.

There is not one sentence in the letter that condemns violence against Arabs.

The letter states, in part, that “recent incidents of violence against the IDF…are contrary to the polices of residents and leaders” of Yitzhar and also against the rabbi of the community.

“We strongly opposed attacking IDF soldiers and security forces and causing property damage.“

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.

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