Residents of the settlement of Yitzhar voted this week to take a principled stand to oppose violence against the IDF.
Earlier this month the West Bank community’s five-member secretariat sent residents the following question to approve or reject: “The Yitzhar settlement opposes the targeting of security forces within its settlement and the surrounding hilltops.”
The secretariat explained in advance that it planned to quit if the residents failed to support the statement.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, adult residents of the 1,172 member community came into the secretariat’s office to place ballots in a box.
On Wednesday night a vote count showed that the measure had passed.
Yitzhar spokesman Ezri Tovi said that over 50 percent of the community voted, but he did not have the exact numerical figure.
All those who showed up to vote supported the measure, he added.
Yitzhar’s Rabbi David Dudkevitch is now empowered to set the boundaries of any future struggle by community residents against the IDF, but he has yet to do so.
The Yitzhar secretariat’s decision to solicit a community- wide statement against violence followed a series of clashes between the IDF and the settlement in early April.
Within a number of days, Yitzhar residents twice slashed the tires of IDF jeeps parked in the community and threw stones at security forces. In response, security forces demolished four illegal structures in Yitzhar, which is located in the Samaria region of the northern West Bank.
During the demolitions, violence broke out between settlers and security forces, in which six officers were lightly injured. A large group of 50 to 60 settlers then demolished an IDF base within Yitzhar, which was made up of tents and that housed reserve officers stationed there to protect the community.
In a move that brought the cycle of violence to a screeching halt, the IDF took the unprecedented step of commandeering the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva building located in Yitzhar. It closed it off to the rabbis and students and is using it to house a Border Police battalion.
A spokesman for the yeshiva said that classes are continuing in the seminary’s dorms.