Yariv Oppenheimer

Peace Now leader protects settlement

Yariv Oppenheimer, left-wing organization's secretary-general, called up to guard settlement as part of his reserve duty. Residents demand his removal: We don't agree with having Israel-hater in our midst. Oppenheimer: I am carrying out my duty as citizen of State

On a normal day, he is one of the public figures most identified with the demands to evacuate the settlements and withdraw to '67 borders. Yet, Yariv Oppenheimer didn't hesitate when he was called up for reserve duty to protect the isolated settlement Ateret in the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, of all places.


Even though he believes that the settlements are the real obstacle to peace, and even though he is one of the most hated people in the settlements, Oppenheimer reported to his military company three days ago in Ateret.


However, it seems as though the settlers are the ones uncomfortable with the man sent to protect them. From the first day he arrived, the rumor spread throughout the settlement that the director-general of Peace Now had been sent to secure the safety of the settlers.


At first, it seemed as if the settlers would rise above their political differences with Oppenheimer and they even sent him the message that the settlement rabbi would be happy if he would join him at his table for a meal.


On the other hand, there were also those who changed the bumper stickers on Oppenheimer's car. Instead of "Evacuating settlements – Choosing life," they affixed the bumper sticker to "It is all because of you, friend" (referring to Yitzhak Rabin) and "We won't forget, and we won't forgive."


'We must respect uniform he is wearing' 

Very quickly the protest spilled over into open hostility. In a petition circulated in the settlement, the residents asked to protest Oppenheimer's post in the settlement.


"The soldier Yariv Oppenheimer is in the reserve company in our town," it was written in the petition. "It is doesn't need to be mentioned how he was worked indefatigably to erase the Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. We must demand his company commander to send this man home. How much longer can we agree that an Israel hater of this sort is in our midst while keeping our mouths shut?"


A number of residents have already signed the petition.


Peace Now has responded: "Some of the settlers think that the IDF is their own private army and that they have the right to send soldiers on missions."


On the other hand, Pinchas Wallerstein, head of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, condemned the settler's response to Oppenheimer.


"We must fight the anti-Zionist opinions of the civilian Oppenheimer at every opportunity. But it is our obligation to respect the uniform he is wearing," said Wallerstein.


פרסום ראשון: 10.11.06, 09:03
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