Gantz Condemns Riot at Base: IDF Attacked by Its Own People

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz condemns the riot at the Ephraim base in Samaria: The IDF defends its people and was attacked by them.

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Elad Benari,

Deputy Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
Deputy Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz condemned on Tuesday the incident at the Ephraim base in Samaria on Monday night.

Speaking to graduates of the National Security College, Gantz also mentioned the incident in which right-wing activists jumped the fence near Qasr Al Yehud to protest Jordan's interference on the Temple Mount. He said both incidents were serious.

“These initiated disturbances are violent,” Gantz was quoted by Channel 10 News as having said. “The IDF, which protects its people, found itself defending itself from them. It’s absurd and unbelievable, and I hope that justice is done with the perpetrators.”

He added, “I’m convinced that the leadership and the authorities will do everything that is necessary to ensure that justice is done.”

Some 50 angry youth invaded the Ephraim Brigade headquarters in Samaria during Monday night’s incident, sparking clashes with the soldiers stationed there. During the raid the youth reportedly burned tires and damaged IDF vehicles by throwing stones, Molotov cocktails, and scattering nails on the road. IDF personnel were forced to call for police reinforcements to end the incident.

The confrontation occurred after residents of the community of Ramat Gilad heard that police were on their way to destroy their homes.

The activists who jumped the fence near Qasr Al Yehud barricaded themselves in a structure that they renamed "Metzudat Ze'ev [Ze'ev Jabotinsky fortress]," after Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv.

The activists, who were protesting Jordan's warning that replacing the Mughrabi Bridge near the Temple Mount would result in a religious war in Jerusalem's Old City, were later removed by security forces. 

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed senior security officials to prepare an emergency plan to deal with nationalists’ violence against the IDF during an 'emergency session' of the cabinet.

“No one can break the law. No one can raise a hand against the IDF or the police," Netanyahu said. "This is the foundation of democracy. Land of Israel loyalists understand this. I will not tolerate such destructive behavior. These small events can spread into a great evil. I met with the heads of the justice and security systems. I requested an emergency plan. This evil must be stopped now.”

The violent incident at the Ephraim base was also condemned by IDF Central Command chief Avi Mizrahi, who said Tuesday he was shocked by the level of hatred expressed towards soldiers by angry Jewish youth.

The Association of Hesder Yeshivas strongly condemned the incident in a statement released to the press. The attack was universally condemned by Jewish communal leaders in Judea and Samaria who described the incident as "shameful and disgraceful." Rabbis from across the orthodox spectrum in Israel have also condemned the incident.