Regiment Commander Stalks Out

IDF Regiment Commander Itzik Bar refused to accept the residents' claim that removal of a checkpoint enabled the murder of Rabbi Meir Chai.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 15:02

Scene of the murder
Scene of the murder
Israel news photo: Flash 90

.A meeting between residents of Shavei Shomron in Samaria and the Commander of the Judea and Samaria Regiment, Col. Itzik Bar, ended in discord Saturday evening when Bar walked out angrily.

Bar had come to the Shavei Shomron clubhouse building to talk to the residents after the murder of their neighbor Rabbi Meir Chai, in a shooting attack Thursday night.

While Israelis are justly proud of the Army Intelligence Services that succeeded in naming and tracking the murderers in record time, they want to know that all the means to prevent terrorism are in force.  Thus, the residents of Shavei Shomron echoed many Israelis' worries when they voiced sharp criticism of the defense establishment and said that the removal of an IDF checkpoint near the community helped the terror cell that murdered Rabbi Chai.  Col. Bar rejected the criticism and said that the removal of the checkpoint had not harmed security. After a heated discussion, he stalked out of the meeting.

"The Regiment Commander spoke arrogantly, and in a condescending and cold-hearted manner, which angered the residents,” a participant in the meeting said. “It was a shameful sight. The regiment commander said, with great insensitivity, even said that removing the checkpoint actually improved security. How can you say something like that to 150 people who are mourning the murder of their friend?”

Residents noted that this was not the first time Col. Bar showed a condescending attitude. They pointed out his instructions to soldiers not to eat at settlers' homes – an order that was repealed after the Chief of Staff intervened.

The Shavei Shomron secretariat did not issue a response after the meeting, stating that the media was not the proper place for working out disagreements with the military.

Menorah Chazani of Shavei Shomron told Arutz Sheva that the residents feel that they have been abandoned by the political leadership. She said that Bar admitted that the IDF had failed to prevent the murder.

Limor Sohn Har-Melech, whose husband Shalom was murdered six years ago, noted that her husband's killers are among the terrorists that are supposed to go free in the Shalit deal. “After we saw that these terrorists go back to killing, the feelings are very bad,” she said. "We feel that releasing the terrorists in a deal with Hamas would set the entire country on fire.”