Police Force in 'Revenge' Raid on Yitzhar

Large police force raids Shomron news agency that publicized an internal anti-settler IDF directive. Two were arrested, computers were confiscated.

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Hillel Fendel, | updated: 11:36

Raid in Yitzhar
Raid in Yitzhar
Israel news photo: HaKol HaYehudi

Early this morning, hours after a Shomron news agency publicized an internal anti-settler IDF directive, a large police force raided its offices, confiscated computers, and made two arrests.

An unusually large force of 100 policemen arrived in Yitzhar, north of Tapuach in Samaria, and swooped down on the offices of HaKol HaYehudi (the Jewish Voice). Officials in Yitzhar say the raid is most certainly linked directly to the agency's publication of an IDF Division Head's memo against soldiers who live in Judea and Samaria (Yesha).

The Jewish Voice reported yesterday on the internal letter by Brig.-Gen. Nitzan Alon, head of the Judea and Samaria Division in the IDF. The memo states that soldier-residents of the Jewish communities in Yesha must be "interviewed" in advance to ensure that they do not plan to leak advance information of planned outpost demolitions.  He said their background must be carefully investigated, and that they must be deployed accordingly.

Alon cited two incidents over the past several months in which soldiers are suspected of having leaked such information, thus preventing demolitions. The two soldiers were suspended, tried, and distanced from their units.

Yitzhar: Freedom of Expression Under Attack
The Jewish Voice issued this statement in response to today's police action: "Freedom of expression has once again been trampled by the Shabak (Israel Security Agency) and Shai Nitzan. Their use of secret information against the media that acts openly shows who is in the right."

The agency stated that Shai Nitzan's behavior is "problematic, as shown by the document publicized yesterday. Reports like yesterday's frighten the establishment, which would rather hide its activities from the public."

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) condemned this morning's arrests, saying, "The arrest of those who revealed the document calling for the distancing of Yesha residents in the IDF is a strong blow to our democratic rule. Instead of trying to figure out where they went wrong, they send the police to settle accounts with the Jewish Voice."