The security apparatus and the media that serves it went on overdrive following the Shabbat Hebron events, focusing on a clash between a Jewish man and an IDF female soldier to tarnish tens of thousands of Jews who assembled for an inspiring day of uniting the nation with its first biblical holy city.
The city of Hebron hosted 30,000 Jews on Shabbat who filled the streets of Kiryat Arba and Hebron, and, except for an attack that was foiled on Friday, when an Arab was caught with a knife, and a clash that erupted on Shabbat in Tel Rumeida, no other unruly events were recorded at all. That would make it an unusually peaceful event, considering how many violent clashes erupt during an outdoor concert or a soccer game with similar numbers.
Ynet cited sources in Hebron who said that “in the mosques, they call on residents to show their presence in response to the settlers’ incursions into the Hebron area.” That would explain the clashes in Tel Rumeida, which, according to sources in the IDF, “it is still unclear who started it and why.”
But according to military correspondent Roy Sharon, the female soldier who was involved in the clashes on Shabbat is herself a resident of Tel Rumeida, a settler, if you will, who serves in the Judea Division.
Also: Haaretz reported that “hundreds of Israelis rioted Saturday in several locations in Hebron, as part of the Shabbat events of Chayei Sara, where about 32 thousand Jews came to pray in the city. … In the morning, the army blocked the market area of Hebron and demanded that shop owners close them to allow Israelis to march there. According to a source in the defense establishment, the parade route that had been approved by the IDF this year was different from previous years. The market is located in the heart of the Palestinian part of Hebron, which is under full Israeli security control, and the Israeli marchers were recorded chanting ‘A Jew is a soul, an Arab is a son of a whore.’ After the parade, the merchants found their stalls turned upside down.”
So far so good, but then Louis, who owns a stall in the market, “told Haaretz that the soldiers threw the goods on the ground and fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the merchants to drive them away.”
Nowhere did the IDF spokesman or anyone in the security apparatus report that it was soldiers, and not “settlers” who attacked the Arab merchants in Hebron.
At the end of Shabbat, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi issued a statement condemning the attack on the female soldier: “The Chief of Staff strongly condemns the attack on an IDF female soldier earlier today (Shabbat) by an Israeli citizen in Hebron, during the securing of the entrance of worshipers to the gravesite of Atniel Ben Kenez. This is a very serious incident that’s unacceptable. It is inconceivable for an Israeli citizen to violently attack IDF soldiers who are working to secure and maintain the safety of the citizens. This is shameful and disgraceful criminal behavior. We will ensure swift and strict justice.”
The IDF stated that two Arabs were injured in the “riot,” as a result of Israeli citizens throwing stones at them. “The IDF force that was in the area provided the injured with initial medical treatment and then they were evacuated to continue receiving medical treatment.” But according to Ynet, this report was false, and “the two wounded Palestinians apparently did not need to be evacuated.”
The IDF decided to ban Jews from entering the tomb, announcing that “Violence of any kind, in particular against the security forces, is an intolerable criminality that requires immediate treatment and demands strict justice.” The chief of staff copied and pasted this statement later on Saturday night. It was a celebration of disproportionate attacks on an entire peaceful community using a single incident that was initiated by the Arab side.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz added his own statement, intentionally misrepresenting the events in Tel Rumeida: “I strongly condemn the attack on security forces and Palestinian residents by extremists in Hebron. The forces on the ground acted with determination to prevent injury to life and property, and will continue to fulfill their role and maintain public order.” He then conceded: “I am sure that we will use the full power of the law against the rioters, who do not represent the settlement enterprise, and whose conduct harms our ability to fulfill the security missions in this sector.”
In other words, it was all the responsibility of the Jews, but only the bad ones. No Arabs were involved.
Soon to be just an MK Yair Lapid also couldn’t miss the opportunity to bash the folks who drove him out of office, and issued this statement Saturday night: “The attack on a female IDF soldier is a national disgrace. This is an attack on Israel’s security. This is an immoral attack against the Israel Defense Forces and against those who protect our lives. This is a serious criminal offense. This evening, I stand by the soldiers of the IDF who are defending our country. We will bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Noam Arnon, the spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron, was enraged by the IDF spokesman’s announcement that the Hebron Shabbat amounted to riots by Jews against Arabs and soldiers. He said: “We were privileged to host on Shabbat tens of thousands of Jews from all over the country and the world, who came to connect with their roots, the patriarchs and matriarchs, and had an empowering experience of joy and connection. On the sidelines of the huge and uplifting event, there were unnecessary and serious incidents that need to be handled using legal means.”