The Nachshon Battalion is following in the footsteps of the Shimshon Battalion. Less than a month after the soldiers' protest during the Kotel induction ceremony during which Kfir Brigade soldiers waved signs saying "We will not evacuate (West Bank settlement) Homesh," another embarrassing incident takes place in the same brigade.
Two soldiers from the Nachshon Battalion, which is part of the Kfir Brigade, stood on top of the roof of a building on their military base in South Mount Hebron and waived a banner on which was written: "Nachshon doesn't evict Jews, either."
The soldiers responsible for the incident were suspended from the battalion on Monday and were expected to go on trial by the day's end. The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that "the soldiers' action is prohibited by its very foundation and is in opposition to the military's values. Any attempt to involve the IDF in the political discourse is inappropriate."
The IDF said that the soldiers acted contrary to what is expected of them and that the issue is being investigated by the commanders. It was also reported that the soldiers were immediately suspended from their posts until the end of the investigation.
According to those close to the soldiers, the two decided to take action following the demolition of illegal structures in the settlement of Negohot Monday morning. A family of six lived in one of the buildings and was evicted before the demolition. The two soldiers were summoned for a talk with the battalion commander over the incident.
The soldiers protesting Monday at their base. Suspended (Photo: Asaf Fried)
Rightist MK Michael Ben-Ari said in response, "Ehud Barak's behavior pushes the soldiers into a corner, and because this is not an isolated incident, he needs to do some self-examination and keep soldiers for evicting Jews."
The IDF is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Extreme rightist Itamar Ben-Gvir said to Ynet, "In recent weeks, we have been contacted by more and more soldiers looking to protest against the expulsion of Jews and against the fact that they are being coerced into participating in such an act, directly or indirectly. Unfortunately, Barak is disintegrating the military, and he will have to deal with the consequences."
Earlier, head of the South Mount Hebron Regional Council Tzviki Bar-Hai said that the razing of illegal structures in the settlement of Negohot is "selective enforcement on the part of Defense Minister Barak."
According to Bar-Hai, Minister Barak "prevents the actualization of demolition orders for Palestinian buildings while razing Jewish houses and choking settlement."
Last month, Kfir Brigade Commander Col. Oren Avman sent the new recruits who disrupted the Kotel induction ceremony to 20 days in military prison. The two were put on trial for unfit behavior. They were permanently dismissed from the Kfir Brigade and will be reassigned to alternative posts when they finish serving their prison time. Estimates are that they will no longer be able serve in combat units.
In response, the Benjamin and Shomron Settlers' Committee called upon the prime minister and the defense minister to cease their political maneuvers that come at the expense of soldiers. The committee responded, "The political evacuations of Homesh and Negohot are tearing the military to pieces and invite protest and refusal of orders for which Ehud Barak is responsible, not the idealistic soldiers."
The organization Homesh First praised the soldiers: "Your internal political wars, Labor Party, continue to shatter the IDF. The prime minister must fire the defense minister who continues to profiteer on IDF soldiers for political missions against Jews and time after time divides the IDF."