Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90
Kan 11 military correspondent Carmela Menashe.

Kan 11 News military correspondent Carmela Menashe on Sunday morning tweeted: “Exclusive – contrary to the orders, fighters from the paratrooper’s special force who carry out operations in the Judea and Samaria Division and in Yitzhar supported the grape harvest in Yitzhar.”

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Menashe then cited the reaction of the IDF spokesperson: “It was a part of a team education day, the volunteering was not done according to the orders as required, clarification of the procedures ensued.” In response to which Menashe chided: “Warriors should not rub shoulders with the civilian population for whose safety they are responsible.”

Shortly thereafter, Religious Zionism Chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich turned to the IDF Chief of Staff and the Commander-in-Chief of the Central Command, to protest the spokesperson’s embrace of the virulent report.

“The grape vineyard in the report belongs to IDF reserve officer Ariel Ben Sheetrit, who was seriously injured several months ago by terrorist gunfire during his reserve service, and due to his injury could not harvest his vineyard himself. The news item was broadcast, of course, with a negative orientation, in an attempt to deny the legitimacy of the action in question.”

Smotrich continued: “I would not have turned to you, of course, over a media item, crooked and distorted as it may be. What infuriated me was the response of the IDF Spokesman, which aligned with the reporter’s agenda against the settlement, was written in an apologetic tone, and adopted the narrative according to which the connection between IDF fighters and the settlers ‘for whose safety they are responsible’ is negative and invalid.”

“With all due respect, this response reflects a loss of way,” MK Smotrich suggested, adding, “Settlement and security have been intertwined since the beginning of Zionism. The firm connection that has existed since the establishment of the settlement enterprise with the IDF is one of the cornerstones of the concept of security in the region, and it also has a tremendous contribution to strengthen the belief in the righteousness of our way among the fighters who are stationed in the area for the sake of preserving the settlements and the State of Israel. The agricultural action of holding on to the land corresponds one hundred percent to the fundamental ethos of the IDF and the Zionist enterprise.”

“The IDF is not the UN army,” Smotrich continued. “It is the army of the Jewish, state where settlement and agriculture have been fundamental values ​​since its establishment. We have been fighting here in this country more than a hundred years of Zionism for our right to hold on to the homeland after two thousand years of exile, and renouncing it cuts off the branch on which the fighting spirit and belief in the righteousness of the warriors grow.”

Smotrich cited an article at the IDF website that praised the help IDF soldiers had given farmers in the Gaza Envelope settlements. Why was that act of charity more legitimate than the soldiers coming to the help of an injured IDF soldier in Yitzhar, the lawmaker wanted to know, and was wondering if the IDF Spokesman was not caving to the progressive, anti-settlement political winds.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.