Promising to stand firm against hate crimes, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday extended the IDF’s seizure of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in the West Bank Yitzhar settlement for another three months.
“This is a direct response to nationalistic crimes in the area,” Ya’alon said.
“We are in the midst of rooting out this phenomena. We can not let this kind of terrorism rear its heads,” Ya’alon said. He was referring to acts of retribution against soldiers and Palestinians, known as “price-tag” attacks.
In an unprecedented move, the IDF had temporally commandeered the yeshiva in April, in the aftermath of a cycle of violent incidents with the Yitzhar residents.
Security forces, however, had long been concerned about the yeshiva’s religious ideology.
Police feared the religious views expressed in the book could be one of the philosophical bases for acts of retribution against Palestinians, often referred to as pricetag attacks. The attorney-general, however, closed the case against him.
Speaking at a meeting with security experts on the matter, he said, “We won’t let up. We’ll continue our tough stand against these terror criminals who have acted against IDF soldiers, police officers and innocent Palestinians.
“These violent actions are immoral and do not reflect Jewish values. It harms the State of Israel and the law abiding citizens of the settlements,” Ya’alon said.
The Border Police presence in the building has a positive influence and decreases the number of violent incidents, Ya’alon said.
It also strengthens the hand of those in Yitzhar who want to expel from their community those residents who engage in such violence, Ya’alon said.
The Yitzhar settlement spokesman said in response that it opposed the continued “occupation” of their yeshiva.
Two months ago the Yitzhar settlement voted to oppose all violence against the IDF, the spokesman said.
He said that this referendum empowers the community leadership to maintain calm and combat violence.
In contrast, he said, the IDF’s unilateral and forceful actions only inflame the situation.
“The real perpetrators of terror against the IDF and Israeli citizens can be found in the nearby Palestinian villages,” the spokesman said.