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      Pre-Army Students Clean-Up Mosques – and Israel’s Image

      Torah students in Judea and Samaria are on a mission to clean-up mosques – and nationalists’ image – marred in “price-tag” vandalism.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 12/20/2011, 11:05 AM

      'Price Tag' cleanup
      'Price Tag' cleanup
      Israel news photo by Amihai ben Saadon

      Students from a pre-Army Torah academy in Judea and Samaria are on a mission to literally clean-up mosques – and the image of nationalists – marred in “price-tag” vandalism. However, mainstream media have ignored the campaign.

      Approximately 50 youth last week damaged mosques and vandalized an IDF base in protest of demolitions of Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, and Opposition political leaders and mainstream media used the incidents as a launching pad for blanket accusations against the national religious community.

      “In light of last week’s incidents in which extremists acted against soldiers and crossed all red lines, we discussed the issue and decided to express our total opposition to these acts by going to a mosque and cleaning it up,” said Rabbi Yair Ansbacher of the Eitan “mechina” at Maaleh Adumim.

      He told Arutz Sheva that most of the students at Eitan hold strongly nationalist views but “condemn violence and vandalism," adding that the “unusual action by the students shows that they can repair damage caused by a small group.”

      “The violence does not demonstrate true Judaism and we continue to pursue unity and peace,” he said.

      Knesset Member Lia Shemtov of the Yisrael Beiteinu party said the clean-up effort signifies the “real youth of Judea and Samaria” despite “attempt to categorize all settler as violent and vandals.” She noted that the Opposition wants to topple the Netanyahu government on the claim that there is no law and order in Judea and Samaria, where Jewish gangs supposedly roam the area to fight the army and leftists.

      MK Shemtov said the lawbreakers will be found and arrested and noted that that youth from Judea and Samaria enlist in the army and serve in combat units in far greater proportionate numbers than those from other sectors in the country.

      She added that leftists and anarchists have thrown rocks and attacked soldiers for the past several years at riots at the separation fence but that they act under the guise of “human rights activists" while the media chose to focus on the small “price tag” group.