Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered an emergency meeting following settler violence directed at the IDF. The discussion will be attended by the IDF chief of staff, police commissioner, Central Command chief, defense minister and internal security minister.
"This is an intolerable state," Netanyahu said. "Tonight's events are very serious. We shall take a firm hand," a statement on behalf of Netanyahu said. The prime minister will demand explanations and will search for ways to toughen handling of rioters.
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The IDF is also taking the events seriously. IDF Spokesman Yoav Mordechai described the incident in which Ephraim Brigade commander Ran Kahana was hurt. "He was hit by a rock and was lightly bruised," he told Ynet. "Later on a bus arrived and unloaded 40-50 rioters who entered the base, hurled stones at military vehicles, broke windows and punctured tires."
Marks of burning tires (Photo: Yoav Zitun)
Mordechai said that a red line had been crossed. "Hurting military officials and IDF bases is intolerable. There is an attempt to drag the army into the political discourse with violent means and provocation." He called on Yesha leaders and leading rabbis to condemn the event in an unequivocal manner.
Asked about the army's handling of the violence he said that the IDF will draw lessons from the event and noted that the IDF chief of staff is personally dealing with the issue.
Traces of burning tires can still be seen near the Ephraim Brigade base. An IDF officer whose car tires were punctured described the events. "They opened the gate by force and hit anything they came by, throwing stones, bottles of paint and puncturing tires. By the time the police came they had ran away. The whole thing lasted 20 minutes."
Talking to Ynet Minister Dan Meridor responded to the violence and said, "I don't want to think what would have happened were they not Hilltop Youth members but Palestinians. I think this is a cause for serious concern for us all."
He added, "When the rule of law is being violated there is no end to the phenomenon. Some say 'price tag' acts against Arabs aren't so bad because it's against Palestinians. Then it's being done in Israel and people say it's not so bad because it's against leftists. And now it's being done against the army. This challenges the authority of the state and the government. Such violence against IDF soldiers must be met with a firm had and in accordance with the law."
Yair Altman contributed to this report
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