SHFARAM - Jewish terrorist Eden Natan Zada, an IDF deserter who refused to take part in a pullout-related mission, left a letter behind saying he was not willing to be part of an organization that expels Jews.
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Natan Zada, known to police as a member of the outlawed far-right Kach movement and an anti-disengagement activist, left the letter at the basic training base in Nitzanim before going AWOL two months ago with a rifle.
Upon leaving his base at Nitzanim, Natan Zada wrote, "Just as I couldn't carry out an order that desecrates the Sabbath, I cannot be part of an organization that expels Jews." He added the anti-pullout slogan "Jews don't expel Jews" to his letter, and concluded the message with the words: "I will consider how I will continue to serve.”
'They can go to hell'
Following the attack, many locals gathered around the Natan Zada family home in Rishon Letzion, while Zada's family condemned the IDF, saying the army's treatment of their son's desertion was too slow.
The terrorist's mother, Debbie, told Ynet: “When we informed (the army) that Eden went AWOL, they told us they’ll treat him as a missing person only after 45 days. Where was the army all this time? They can go to hell.”
Natan Zada’s father, Yitzhak, expressed similar sentiments and said the parents asked the army to take away their son’s weapon.
“We were scared the rifle would end up in Arab hands but they didn’t listen to us,” he said. “We warned them for a long time, but the IDF’s conduct wasn’t good. They told us to go look for him.”
'He was a gentle person'
Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov, of the West Bank settlement of Kfar Tapuah and friend of Zada, told Ynet that the attacker was “true to his name” – Eden means ‘gentle’ in Hebrew – adding that “he was a gentle person, humble, shy, and one who cared."
"He was very frustrated and desperate, and tried to escape the draft,” said Ben-Yaakov. “But they didn’t let him go. He was against the disengagement, and he pleaded for the army to release him, but it didn’t help. He also sat in prison, but they still didn’t release him.”
“Eden was the first victim of this sadistic disengagement brought on us by general Sharon. I didn’t hear him say that he was planning to kill people, but I hope he wasn’t murdered for nothing, and that his murder will bring about the cancellation of the expulsion program.”
Father tried to bring him back
During his time of desertion, he telephoned his father, who tried to bring him back to military service.
In response, he told his father to "leave him alone," saying, “I’m in Tapuah – don’t look for me.”
A local official from Kfar Tapuah, Shmuel Herzliah, told Ynet that Zada was not a permanent resident of the settlement.
“There are many teenagers who come and go,” said Herzliah. “We don’t have control over this. He didn’t have an apartment here and he didn’t live here. What happened now has caused many people here to panic. Its still not clear to me what exactly happened. This was a terrible act. I will wait for the picture to clear.”
-Ely Senyor, Efrat Weiss, and Hanan Greenberg contributed to this story