Bat Ayin is working to fight the kind of extremism that led to an attack on an Arab driver and two IDF soldiers last week, community security chief El-Chai Fein told Arutz Sheva. In the meantime, he said, the IDF was right to withdraw its soldiers from the town.
“The IDF did the right thing in taking out its soldiers. If I were a commander I would have made a similar decision. Why should the IDF protect us, when residents attack a soldier?” he asked.
The soldiers and Arab driver were sprayed with pepper spray by two masked men at the entrance to Bat Ayin last week.
The religious Jewish community of Bat Ayin is known for taking a strong approach to Arab vandalism or violence, and for years Arabs were not welcome in the town, Fein noted. However, he said, that should not be mistaken for racism against Arabs, let alone a sign of support for racist attacks.
“In Bat Ayin’s first years, residents created a deterrence against Arabs coming into the town, but it’s important to remember that wasn’t because of hating Arabs, it was deterrence [against attack],” he said.
“That’s not an issue today. It’s true that we’re careful to only use Jewish labor, but that isn’t because of hatred for Arabs, it’s because we want to boost Jewish labor,” he continued.
The community of Bat Ayin does not support the recent attack in any way, and in fact held a town meeting to condemn the phenomenon of violence against Arabs, he said.
“Unfortunately, there are some youths from a minority of families who don’t differentiate between the value of Jewish labor, and violence against Arabs,” he said. “This handful of families legitimizes their children’s behavior.”
“We are working to make them understand Bat Ayin’s values. We are against hurting Arabs, and of course, against hurting soldiers,” he declared.
He expressed hope that the IDF would soon return to the town.
“I’m sorry they destroyed houses here in order to show that they condemn the attack,” he added. “It’s sad that an incident like this was exploited in order to destroy homes.”