Commander Avi Mizrachi of the Central Command and Commander Guy Chazot of the Judea Brigade paid a condolence call, Sunday, on the family of Rabbi Dan Mertzbach of the southern Hevron Hills Jewish community of Otniel, who was accidentally killed by Israeli fire near the Ari/Kvasim Junction, Friday morning. The commanders asked forgiveness, admitting that the troops involved in the incident failed in their mission and that Rabbi Mertzbach drove properly. According to the Israel Defense Forces' investigation of the incident, Rabbi Mertzbach could not have seen the soldiers as they tried to flag down his car, following an alert about a suspicious vehicle. Expressing embarassment that the incident had taken place in their sector, the commanders said they had no claim against the deceased and that the incident should not have happened.
Rabbi Mertzbach's family responded by saying, "The army is operating out of fear, today, since the evacuation of Gush Katif, and we call on the army to take the initiative to strengthen the confidence in their just cause."