The fundamental unity between the town of Yitzhar in Samaria and the IDF, despite recent clashes between the army and a violent element in the town, was displayed on Sunday, as a paratrooper resident of Yitzhar was given an award of excellence by the IDF.
Muli Leiner was given the award by his brigade commander in a ceremony at an undisclosed location in the coastal region of Israel, in recognition of his accomplishments during an 18-month track in the paratrooper reconnaissance platoon.
"Muli decided to enlist in an elite unit, and today proved to himself and the family that anything can be accomplished in life when you have the willpower," remarked Muli's brother Levi Yitzhak, who serves as the IDF security coordinator for Yitzhar.
Seven residents of the small Yitzhar community are currently doing their mandatory IDF service, six of them as combat soldiers, and one in the air force.
Yitzhar spokesperson Ezri Tuvi noted that "Muli joined a group of youth from Yitzhar who serve in combat units. At a time when confusion is reigning, we are certain that they will know how to protect and guard the interests of the Jewish nation, protecting it from all its enemies."
The paratrooper reconnaissance platoon that Muli is part of has the task of leading the brigade in combat, conducting missions involving navigation, reconnaissance, and intelligence, along with ambushes, incursions and special operations.
Yitzhar has made headlines since clashes with security forces erupted in mid-April, when a house was destroyed by the IDF, sparking tire-slashings of two IDF cars. In response, four local homes were demolished, triggering clashes with local youths and the destruction of an IDF outpost.
There have been several arrests of residents, including a 22-year-old pregnant woman who was arrested last Tuesday on suspicion of incitement, over statements she made on a private local internet forum expressing support for throwing rocks against Jews in certain situations, even if it led to the death of soldiers.
Another Yitzhar woman in April claimed that police treated her severely, confining her and depriving her of her rights for hours under cruel conditions, after she was arrested on trumped-up charges.
Yet another woman was arrested with her husband two weeks ago, because their car was the same model as one allegedly used in a "price tag" vandalism crime. The two reported abuse in detention, as officers told them "you will never see your kids again," and claimed they were deprived of legal representation initially.