I was reminded of the former Shin Bet official's comment on Sunday, when the tires of the Samaria Brigade commander's vehicle were slashed again in the community of Yitzhar. That Shin Bet official went on to say: "But we don't do anything against the rioters."
What the Shin Bet man did not say specifically, but every military official in the territories and the Judea and Samaria settler leaders know, is that this is the "commander's spirit" resting upon the level of urgency of pursuing and arresting the Jewish rioters.
This "commander's spirit" does not arrive in explicit words from the top: The Shin Bet people are busy preventing and thwarting Palestinian terror attacks, and they assume – perhaps erroneously – that with today's government, and with the current atmosphere in the territories, there is no urgency in arresting Jews, and certainly not in prosecuting them.
True or false, this is the atmosphere today among many of the settlers in Judea and Samaria, despite the condemnations pouring in on the unknown rioters' heads from all directions. Sunday's wave of condemnations included everybody who is somebody in this country – from the prime minister and defense minister all the way down. But the settlers know from past experience that after the condemnations, the police, the IDF and the Shin Bet won't lift a finger to prevent the next riot.
The assumption that the "price tag" activities against Palestinians and against IDF commanders inflict heavy damages on the State of Israel and on the Judea and Samaria settlement is rejected scornfully and mockingly by the rioters and their associates.
They see themselves as the Sicarii (Jewish zealots who used terrorist tactics to end the Roman rule of Judea) of 2014, who know better than anyone else what the State of Israel needs.
It may be time to make it clear to these rioting Jews that the "commander's spirit" does not permit lawlessness – neither against Jews nor against Arabs. And it may be time for the commander, whatever his name and position is, to clarify to the settlers the spirit of law and democracy in Israel.