Private Shimon Weizman, the Kfir Brigade fighter who had announced on Monday that he did not intend to return to serving in the army so that he can restore his home which was destroyed during the Havat Gilad evacuation, was sentenced on Wednesday by his commander to 30 days in prison.
He was charged with failing to obey orders. He was also permanently dismissed from the brigade. Weizman is currently undergoing basic training and the continuation of his military service will be discussed after he finishes serving his sentence.
Weizman told his friends on Wednesday that he was summoned to the base by his commander under false pretenses, despite the fact that was on an approved leave from the army. He added that he voluntarily returned to his base and was then sentenced by the brigade commander. Weizman also told his friends that his cell phone was confiscated, and that the IDF refused to allow him representation by a lawyer.
Relatives of Weizman said after the verdict that it is “an act of vengeance by the army” and added that “the army is ruining the trust of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria.”
MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said that “the trial of the soldier whose home was destroyed is yet another predatory action by [Defense Minister] Barak. A combat soldier’s home was destroyed and he is required to continue to function. A little sensitivity would do no harm, but Barak has been and remains emotionally autistic.”
The residents of Havat Gilad released a statement after the sentencing in which they said: “Havat Gilad is sorry for the inflexibility of the brigade commander, as well as for the inflexibility of the entire IDF system and Ehud Barak. We call on all IDF soldiers to demonstrate, each in his own way, against the terrible injustice done to Shimon. Today it’s his home and tomorrow it could be your own home!”
Havat Gilad was pounced upon by hundreds of security forces early Monday morning. Bulldozers also arrived on the scene for the purpose of destroying an ”illegal” home, a second home that was almost completely built and a third one under construction. A tent also was demolished.
Residents of the community, located in Samaria near Kedumim, tried to resist the destruction and clashes broke out. The incident escalated to the point that special police forces used the FN 303 gun (billed by its maker as the “Less Lethal Launcher”) and tear gas at the residents.
Click here for a video article including live testimonies on the incident.
Weizman had asked his commanders on Monday to leave his base after learning that his home had been destroyed. After seeing the rubble which used to be his home, Weizman called a news conference in which he announced that he will not be returning to serve until his home is rebuilt.
“I’m a combat soldier serving in the Kfir Brigade,” Weizman told the cameras. “I made a great effort in order to be able to serve in the IDF and protect the people of Israel. As I was serving in the army, the IDF sent forces to destroy my home and shoot my friends. I’m not returning to the army until I restore the ruins of my home.”