Debate in Samaria over IDF Ties

IDF commander Noam Tibon's departure led to a debate among Samaria Jews: how to relate to IDF officials who support expulsion?

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 11:40 PM

How to view explusion soldiers?
How to view explusion soldiers?
Israel news photo: (file)

IDF's Yehuda and Shomron (Judea and Samaria) commander Noam Tibon's recent departure from his post to a position in the Command and Staff College has led to a debate among public figures in Shomron Jewish communities. The question: How should Samaria Jews treat IDF officials who support the expulsion of Jews from the region?

'Thank G-d He's Gone'
The Council of Shomron Jews gave a clear answer last week by releasing a statement referring to Tibon's absence as a blessing. “We wish him luck in one of the political parties on the extreme Left, and extend our sympathies to the commanders at the Command and Staff College who will be serving under him,” council members stated.

The council accused Tibon of deliberately choosing Sabbaths as days for expelling Jews from outpost communities, of acting arrogantly toward Yehuda and Shomron Jews, “obsessively harassing” them, and of “acting as an agent of the extreme Left.”

Wallerstein: We Must Show Gratitude
In response, Pinchas Wallerstein, former chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities, expressed concern that Jews in Shomron were insufficiently grateful for IDF protection. “I have criticized Tibon as well, and there are things he could have done differently, but to say a blessing upon his departure? It's a disgrace that members of our community act that way,” Wallerstein said Sunday in an interview with Arutz Sheva's Hebrew language news magazine.

"The IDF is responsible for the safety and security of residents of Israel and of Yehuda and Shomron, and we must recognize and give thanks for the good it does,” Wallerstein continued. “We have forgotten that we have had very quiet years, thank G-d, and every day the IDF arrests more wanted terrorists.”

The problem of ingratitude can be seen in various places throughout Yesha, Wallerstein said, in that soldiers at some checkpoints have told him that they are regularly insulted by passing Jews. Wallerstein added that in some cases, criticism of IDF commanders is justified. “I openly criticized [Tibon] on occasion,” he said. However, he said, such criticism should be voiced “at home” and not in the media.