In an attempt to distance themselves from the far-Right youths who attacked soldiers in the West Bank earlier this week, high school seniors from the Efrat settlement released a letter on Thursday denouncing violence against IDF troops.
"We wish to express our disapproval of the violent incidents that have been perpetrated recently by a group of Jewish rioters," the students wrote. "(…) Under no circumstances can one take the law into his hands.
- Settlers raid IDF base, injure commander
PM rejects bid to deem rioters 'terrorists'
IDF to apply fire protocol to Jews?
"We are dismayed by those who were involved in these incidents and hereby declare that this is not our way, and we have no part in their acts," they said. "It is our understanding that it is strictly forbidden from any standpoint – including legal, halachic, societal and moral – to hurt the IDF."
Neve Shmuel Yeshiva students, who penned the letter, have some of the highest rates of enlistment in combat IDF units.
On Monday, settlers injured the Ephraim Brigade commander and deputy during a protest in Ramat Gilad. In a separate incident, some 50 settlers and right-wing activists broke into the Ephraim Brigade's base in protest of the possible eviction of several illegal outposts. Once inside the base, they torched tires, hurled Molotov cocktails and stones, and caused damage to vehicles.
The enemy at home
In the statement, the teens accuse the rioters of "disgracing the Torah and the religious public," and of becoming "the enemy at home."
They urged the violent youths to choose peaceful and legal means to express their stance.
Nadav Har-Tov, one of the initiators of the petition, told Ynet that idea to write it was born when his driving instructor accused him of belonging to the riotous gang.
"I began explaining to him that it wasn't us, that none of my friends agree with these actions, no matter what," he said.
The students have sent the letter to hundreds of religious schools across the country, urging seniors everywhere to express their support.
"We believe in the state. It is clear to us that this is not the path, we never have and never will take it," Har-Tov said.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop