Netanyahu mum on Hebron soldier attack of activist

Despite condemnation of violence from military chief, no comments so far from incoming prime minister, who continues coalition talks to secure government; Ben-Gvir calling for probe of left-wing activists assaulted by soldiers

Moran Azulay, Sharon Kidon, Yishai Shnerb|
Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu continues to stay silent on an attack of left-wing activists in Hebron by Israeli soldiers on Friday.
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  • The footage of the incident shows one activist being thrown to the ground by a soldier stationed in the West Bank city's Jewish area, while another is heard saying that once far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir becomes police minister, the activists will be "taken care of."
    4 View gallery
    "שמאלנים אני אשבור לכם את הצורה" - תיעוד: חייל צה''ל תוקף את העיתונאי אלי ביתאן
    "שמאלנים אני אשבור לכם את הצורה" - תיעוד: חייל צה''ל תוקף את העיתונאי אלי ביתאן
    Soldier assaults civilian activist in Hebron
    (Photo: Twitter)
    The incident caused outrage in the military and prompted a letter to troops from the Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi late on Saturday, saying that violence out of anger or revenge should never take place.
    "The IDF works daily to protect Israel and prevent terror attacks by using force in a professional and moral manner," Kochavi wrote. "Unfortunately, there have been cases recently of unjustified violence toward Israelis and Palestinians," he said.
    Ben-Gvir, who is to be appointed as public security minister with responsibility over Border Police troops in the West Bank, criticized the military chief and demanded an inquiry into whether the activists provoked the attack. He also claimed the military must back their troops, rather than take the side of leftists.
    4 View gallery
    זירת הפיגוע
    זירת הפיגוע
    Itamar Ben-Gvir
    (Photo: EPA)
    A close ally of the incoming premier, Likud MK Boaz Bismuth, said in an interview with Ynet that the IDF should not get involved in politics.
    "We've been exposed to disturbing events. This is clear-cut. Politics have no place among the troops on duty," he said.
    "Of course we denounce such behavior, but must also say that this is an aberration and not a common occurrence. On the other hand, when there is provocation of the extreme-left, that must also be denounced."
    Bismuth went on to say that Ben-Gvir must no longer partake in memorial events for racist Meir Kahana, who established the Kach movement, outlawed as a terror organization and which the far-right legislator was a member of.
    4 View gallery
    "שמאלנים אני אשבור לכם את הצורה" - תיעוד: חייל צה''ל תוקף את העיתונאי אלי ביתאן
    "שמאלנים אני אשבור לכם את הצורה" - תיעוד: חייל צה''ל תוקף את העיתונאי אלי ביתאן
    Soldier assaults civilian in Hebron
    (Photo: Twitter)
    Netanyahu, meanwhile, attempts to finalize coalition agreements with his intended partners after securing the participation of Ben-Gvir and the ultra-Orthodox parties.
    Coalition talks are set to resume Sunday, with the Shas and Noam factions on the agenda for the incoming premier.
    Religious Zionists Chairman Bezalel Smotrich, who has thus far refused to agree to the terms offered by Likud, is blocking Netanyahu from appointing a new Knesset speaker or passing any legislation that would clear the way for twice-convicted Aryeh Deri to assume a ministerial post. Shas intends to change the Basic Law to allow Deri to serve in the government.
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    טקס זיכרון ליצחק רבין במליאת הכנסת
    טקס זיכרון ליצחק רבין במליאת הכנסת
    Bezalel Smotrich
    (Photo: Knesset channel)
    Smotrich remains adamant that he must receive control over parts of the defense and the education ministries.
    Likud hopes that an agreement with the rest of the coalition partners will pressure him to back down from the demands.
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