Home > IDF, Settler Violence, Video, West Bank Law Enforcement > [Video] IDF “concerned” that soldiers are participating in settler “revenge attacks” [but doing next to nothing about it] — UPDATED

[Video] IDF “concerned” that soldiers are participating in settler “revenge attacks” [but doing next to nothing about it] — UPDATED

UPDATES
  • November 15, 2009Brig. Gen. Avichai Rontzki, IDF Chief Rabbi and a resident of the West Bank settlement of Itamar told settler soldiers last Thursday that troops who show mercy to enemy will be damned.’
  • November 16, 2009: Another IDF West Bank battalion joins the rebellion and Gavri Bargil warns (Hebrew) of the dangers inherent to this type of sedition.
ORIGINAL POST

Channel Ten TV’s military affairs correspondent reported Monday evening that “these [see video below] pictures give the IDF a serious headache,” because

Channel Ten TV
They show soldiers who join rioting settlers and using their IDF-issue weapons.  Soldiers manning an observation post of the Etzioni Brigade, which is the Bethlehem brigade, were amazed when their security cameras spotted two of their comrades out there. Corporal Baruch Brandoi of the anti-terror school and Sergeant Nahman Alfasi of the Artillery Corps, both residents of the settlement of Bat Ayin, took their M-16’s and joined their friends on a revenge campaign against the nearby Palestinian village of Hirbat Zafa. The incident took place shortly after the lethal ax attack in Bat Ayin. The settlers wanted revenge. A group of settlers started throwing rocks at the Palestinian village. The Palestinians responded in kind, but then came the two armed soldiers. Brandoi fired 26 rounds and kept firing even after the Palestinians have fled.  Alfasi fired 12 rounds. [Full translated transcript here.]

The “headache” was not bad enough, apparently, for the IDF to put some serious effort into disciplining these soldiers, despite the extraordinary evidence.

Presenting the pictures before the court, the military prosecution argued that the two soldiers were under no life threat and thus had no reason to open fire, but was forced to make a plea bargain deal with them, and each of the shooters was handed down a sentence of 21 days in the military prison.
Channel Ten TV

The de facto parallel hierarchies — military and rabbinical — that the many fundamentalist combat soldiers owe allegiance to have been a major problem for IDF operations in the West Bank for some time. One only needs to skim through Yesh Din‘s numerous publications in order to understand how blurred the lines between the IDF and settler paramilitaries have become.

The IDF’s patent inability or unwillingness to deal with the problem is evident on a nearly daily basis. Here are two examples just from this morning:
  1. IDF reservists in a unit specializing in West Bank operations publish a petition calling on the unit to desist from participating in outpost evacuations. This is shortly after the a group of new recruits to the unit who staged a protest [!] in the middle of a major basic training ceremony were given slaps on the wrist.
  2. Students at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva find “the subject of killing gentiles, and more specifically Palestinians as part of the ongoing battle against terrorism, particularly relevant for [those] who have served, are presently serving or plan on serving in the IDF.”

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  1. Irit
    November 13, 2009 at 01:46

    I completely agree that today, in the Israeli army, there are two parallel hierarchies – the military and the rabbinical . And as you stated, this situation causes a serious problem for the IDF which is not being properly addressed. However, in my point of view, these two hierarchies are only a symptom of a much bigger problem, which is the vast influence that right-wing-religious parties have over the Israeli Army.
    This influence, whose origin can be traced back to a few years ago and which has been growing slowly within the army, has allowed a certain atmosphere amongst soldiers, where it is accepted to express ones political views- these being mostly from the political right. For instance, in many occasions, it is understandable for soldiers to identify themselves with Israeli-settler rioters (towards Palestinians) rather than to stop or to punish them for their violent behavior towards innocent civilians in the West Bank. Furthermore, since Rabbi Avichai Rontzki was appointed the IDF’s Chief Rabbi, right wing ideology has penetrated various branches of the army and today we see (and suffer) the consequences. One of these consequences is the fact that the army has lost its power over right-wing soldiers, who might be willing to obey their rabbi’s will rather than their army officer command. Rontzki has preached with disgust and disdain against anyone who is not religious and does not believe in Greater Israel. He has interfered with education officers’ work and ordered them to disseminate “extremist” views. This is one of the many reasons why today there are two parallel hierarchies which are intertwined between each other and are very difficult to separate. The rabbinical hierarchy does not only come from outside the army, but it is also well sustained within the IDF. Hence, in order for the army to deal with this situation, it’ll first have to deal with the root of the problem which in my view is a politicized IDF.

  1. November 11, 2009 at 14:47
  2. November 30, 2009 at 15:58

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