“‘Come here, soldier, I’ll stab you’, said the Beduin to squad commander who defended himself and found himself under arrest.”
Military police arrested a squad commander and other soldiers after they defended themselves and prevented an attack on soldiers and civilians. On the night between Wednesday and Thursday of last week, the soldiers were returning from the funeral of Asher Chazut, a young boy who was killed by a bolt of lightening last week. Chazut’s brother serves in Netzach Yehuda, a battalion for ultra-religious men, and a platoon of soldiers came to console the mourners.
As they were returning and stopped for a break at the Dvir service station, a group of young Beduins there started taunting them and cursing the soldiers, and at some point one of the Beduin youths shouted at the commander: “Come on over here, soldier, I’ll stab you.” Then, out of concern that the Beduin youth intended to carry out his intention, the commander started reaching out to grab the Beduin while at that point the young Beduins started trying to attack the commander and his soldiers came to defend him and their own lives.
The incident happened after the soldiers overtook the Beduin youths and even conducted a search on them, and discovered that the youth who threatened them did not have a knife. At this point, under orders from the commander, the soldiers left the area but when they returned to their base, they were taken by surprise when their officers gathered them together and claimed that the media is liable to take an interest in this and that this is liable to damage the unit. Yesterday, military police arrived and arrested and detained 18 shocked soldiers for investigation, most of them remaining in prison for the whole night.
One of the jailed soldier’s mother told Breaking Israel News: “I’m Israeli-American and the mother of a Netzach Yehuda (Nahal Haharedi) soldier serving in the Shomron, I am writing to protest the treatment of my son and his comrades who are sitting in jail for the past week over an altercation with several Bedouin at a gas station near Rahat. A soldier was cursed and threatened by Bedouin. An altercation ensued. No injuries were reported. But 14 soldiers were arrested, mistreated, and held in jail. The Bedouin were not taken into custody. My son and his fellow soldiers endanger their lives daily to protect Jews living in the Shomron. Over Rosh Hashanah, they captured a terrorist responsible for the Ein Dolev attack which killed Rina Shnerb. When a soldier is harassed walking through Mea Shearim, riot police throw the local offender in jail. Why, when our sons stop at a gas station and are harassed by local Bedouin, do the soldiers end up in jail? Where is the justice? I call upon Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to ensure immediate release of the jailed soldiers.”
The squad commander’s lawyer, Itamar Ben Gvir, said this morning that: “Again, this is about our fighters being abandoned. The squad commander did everything that was expected of him by defending himself and the soldier. If he had run away, this would have been negligence and lawlessness, but the IDF apparently prefers dead soldiers over soldiers who do their jobs”. Atty. Ben Gvir sharply attacked the investigating military police and the decision to arrest the soldiers. “This is a scandal. Only in Israel is the default decision to arrest soldiers and believe the rioters who sought to harm them, instead of backing up our fighters who were doing their job.”