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Apology Issued to IDF's Gen. Alon

Kfar Etzion Field School Director says Gen. Alon was the victim of an organized defamation campaign.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/3/2013, 2:46 PM

Nitzan Alon
Nitzan Alon
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The IDF's Head of Central Commmand, Nitzan Alon, came under fierce criticism this year from Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria who accused him of being a “leftist” and blamed him for a loss of IDF deterrence that led to a spike in terror attacks in Judea and Samaria.

On Tuesday, Kfar Etzion Field School Director Yaron Rosenthal issued an apology to Maj. Gen. Alon, in the spirit of forgiveness that is part of the Rosh Hashana holiday. In the letter, he claims that the majority of residents in Judea and Samaria do not share the ill feelings toward Alon.

"In recent months, an organized media mudslinging campaign has been waged against Central Command Head Nitzan Alon,” writes Rosenthal.

“The general is accused of allowing the blood of the settlers to be spilled, of weakness vis-a-vis the rioters and of the fact that his wife is supposedly a volunteer in Machsom Watch.

"To the best of my knowledge, most of the Judea and Samaria residents oppose the attacks but this majority has remained silent, and not for the first time."

Rosenthal described his personal acquaintance with Alon. 

"Nitzan arrived in the Etzion Bloc about 10 years ago, where he served as Etzion Regiment Commander. In view of his impressive resume as commander of Sayeret Matkal, we expected to meet a tough and combative commander, but he captured our hearts even in his initial days as Etzion Regiment Commander.

"In one of our initial meetings he asked me to take all of the regiment's officers for an early morning hike, before work, once every few months, because, he said, one canot defend a territory that one is not familiar with and one does not feel attached to.

"During his term we also founded the Lamed-Heh March, and hundreds of soldiers joined thousands of youths and marched at night in the path followed by the Lamed-Heh (35 fighters who were killed in the War of Independence – ed.) on the anniversary of their fall. From then on, Nitzan has made sure to take part in the march and unlike public officials who come only 'to see and be seen,' he mrches at night with the students.

"Nitzan also considerably eased the security requirements for hikers in the Etzion Bloc, thus turning the Etzion Bloc into the tourism capital of Judea and Samaria, and solidifying the public consensus around it.

"Since those days, Nitzan has advanced in the military ranks and became Commander of the Jduea and Samaria Division, and then Central Command Head, but for us he has always benn the person to turn to on different subjects, and the relationship with him has become a model for relationships between residents and the IDF.

"To our great regret, in recent years, a vocal minority has elected to attack Maj. Gen. Alon personally and in an extreme way, whenever they disagree with him.

"At first, Alon was accused of having a wife who is a member of Machsom Watch [an ultra-leftist group that has often been accused of harassing IDF soldiers in checkpoints]. Does the membership of one of the wives of religious officers in a right wing group make them ineligible for posts in the military?

"But the criticism came to its peak around the meaningful spike in rock throwing that began a few months ago. The military dealt with the problem in a smart way, but open fire orders were not made stricter. The vocal minority that included public officials attacked and attacked Nitzan personally, and a demonstration was even held in the Etzion Bloc!”

Rosenthal insisted that overall, the recent years, during which Alon has been serving in key positions in Judea and Samaria, were the safest ones since the early 1970s.

Rosenthal apologized “for not standing as a fortified wall to protect, in the public sphere, a person who protects our lives here on 'this good mountain.'”