"We are thinking about getting a group of people together, catching those youths, beating them up, and handing them over to the police," a senior Judean official said to me, a day after the attack on the Ephraim military base. Former Israel Defense Forces Chief Rabbi and current rabbi of the Itamar settlement Avichai Ronsky told me that "We need to stop this at once, not just talk about it. If this reality will become the norm here, I don't have a place here."
Confusion, shame and anger were apparent in every conversation I had with friends and leaders in various communities. The Jewish pioneers in Judea and Samaria have no need for the laments and preaching of their opponents to understand that it cannot continue this way. The wild gangs of youths do not heed the calls of any rabbi or other authority. Some of them are homeless and have disassociated themselves from parental authority. We shouldn't be fooled by their religious appearance, because for some of them the way they dress is only part of a social code.
But if there was a time when it was pertinent to use the Jewish “law of the pursuer” (“Din Rodef”), which allows bystanders to kill someone who is pursuing another person for the purpose of murdering them, this is the time. This wild group is pursuing not only the IDF and its officers, but also the entire settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria. The gang is endangering the lives of residents because it is distributing swords to the enemies of the communities in Judea and Samaria, and enabling them to undermine the legitimacy of the settlement enterprise, even among those who love and support it.
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Another Jewish phrase that applies here as well is "profaning God's holy name." Jewish gangsters who wish to harm those who protect people in the area, and disguise themselves with a traditional Jewish look, are damaging the perception of morality associated with the hilltop pioneers, who together with their children and grandchildren have also served and perhaps are serving now in the IDF as soldiers and commanders.
The reactions of suspicion of those among the settlers who are apprehensive about joining the "choir of condemnation" are characteristic of those who perceive themselves belonging to a community under siege, which has a defensive consciousness. This is not the way a community that wishes to lead the nation should react.
We should not allow this anarchy to go on -- an anarchy that is shamefully blackening a magnificent Zionist enterprise. It is neither moral nor genuine, and most importantly, it derails the tremendous efforts of many good people who believe that the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria is vital to Israel's future.
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