IDF general Stern attacked in Kiryat Arba over disengagement

Called an "expulsion criminal" after visiting families of last Friday's shooting attack victims.

By MATTHEW WAGNER
January 3, 2008 21:58
1 minute read.
elazar stern looks pained 298

elazar stern lookspained. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

OC Human Resources Maj.-Gen Elazar Stern was attacked Thursday morning by right-wing activists while on a consolation visit with two mourning families in Kiryat Arba. On his way out of Kiryat Arba after visiting the Rubin and Amichai families, whose sons were killed in a terrorist shooting last Friday, Stern's car was blocked for about 20 minutes by several activists who began banging on the car and shouting epithets. "You are an expulsion criminal," shouted members of the National Jewish Front, an offshoot of Rabbi Meir Kahane's Kach Party, among them Itamar Ben-Gvir and Baruch Marzel. The activists were referring to the Gaza disengagement which included the forced evacuation of Jewish families. "You should be ashamed to show your face here. You were a partner in the expulsion. Go away. You are not wanted around here," they said. Only after local police intervened did Stern, who remained inside his car, extricate himself. Asked why he was so angry at Stern, Marzel said that the head of IDF manpower was "destroying the army." "Because of people like him who support using soldiers to expel Jews from their homes, hundreds of young religious Zionist boys are deciding not to enlist in the army," he said. "Also, Stern is trying to integrate women into combat units, which creates an immodest atmosphere. A man on guard duty with a woman is bound to lead to spiritual disaster. I personally know of cases where improprieties were committed during these co-ed guard duties. Finally, the IDF is regularly used to evacuate activists from Homesh [a Samaria settlement]." Marzel estimated that there had been as high as a 15% drop in enlistment among religious Zionist soldiers in the years following disengagement. This is not the first time Stern has been targeted by ultranationalist activists angry at the general, an observant Jew, for his part in the 2005 Gaza withdrawal. That same year, one day after Yom Kippur and just months after 8,000 Jewish settlers were forcibly evacuated from Gaza, Stern and family were attacked while visiting the Western Wall. Jewish worshipers blocked him from reaching the Western Wall courtyard and badmouthed him. A few pelted the Stern family with stones.


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