Daily Israel Report

‘Settlers Don’t Know How Much People Love Them’

One image of Tel Aviv area secular Jews is of smug antagonism to “settlers.” Ret. Lt. Col. Danny Baz smashes the stigma in an interview.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/7/2009, 9:02 AM

Israel news photo

A former Navy and Air Force officer, who also is a resident of the wealthy and predominantly secular city of Herzliya near Tel Aviv, has broken the image of secular anti-settler Jews. In an interview with Arutz 7, retired Lt. Col. Danny Baz called settlers “modern Zionists.”

Baz’s comments came one month after he wrote an extremely harsh letter to the Shomron Batallion commander who had ordered his troops not to accept the traditional invitation to eat a Sabbath meal with residents of Judea and Samaria. The order has since been rescinded after an outcry from a wide array of people, including Baz, who also is an established author.

“Settlers do not know how much the People of Israel love them.” Baz stated. He called them "modern Zionists...and our hope for tomorrow.”

In an impassioned letter to Shomron Brigade commander Colonel Itzik Bar last month, Baz accused him of turning settlers into a “new enemy"and told him that “[settlers] are an honored part of the defense system of the State of Israel.... They are a strategic non-conventional weapon of Israel".

“I want you to know that the settlers are people of the land who learn Torah, are professionals, and their children, some of whom are under your command, fight for the IDF," Baz said. "Your decision to prevent soldiers from accepting invitations to their homes tears apart the fabric and special relationship that has been built for years."

Concerning the recent dispute over soldiers who have publicly raised protest banners rejecting the notion of being used for evacuation and expulsion of Jews from their homes, Lt. Col Baz came out four-square against the army's being involved in what he called “police actions.”

He also pointed out that the soldiers were falsely accused of violating orders. “They are not guilty of refusal because no orders were given,” he told Arutz 7. Baz said that at worst, the soldiers were guilty of lack of discipline but that “IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and military spokesmen have been under heavy pressure "to speak harshly against the protesting soldiers."

In his letter to the Shomron Brigade commander, Baz pointed out that settlers “are creating facts on the ground” and will determine the future of the country.