Samaria: Jews Confront IDF over Arab Workers

Residents of Yitzhar blocked IDF vehicles from entering because army insisted on employing Arab drivers.

Arutz Sheva ,

Yitzhar confrontation
Yitzhar confrontation
Amihai Ben David

A confrontation took place Wednesday morning at the entrance to the community of Yitzhar, in Samaria, because of the IDF's insistence on employing Arab drivers of heavy machinery for a construction project.

The heavy machinery was being brought in for work on the military outpost at Point 670, west of the community. Two of the drivers were Arabs. The construction was originally planned to to take place two weeks ago, but it was postponed because of Yitzhar's insistence on the principle of “Hebrew labor.”

The military chose to use Arab drivers anyway.

Yitzhar, which has suffered a large number of horrific acts of Arab terrorism over the years, has a policy of employing only Jews within the community. Meanwhile, Jews are not even allowed into the territory of the neighboring Palestinian Authority (PA).

Several Yitzhar residents passively blocked the heavy vehicles with their bodies. In response, about seven Border Police jeeps were brought to the scene, in addition to military forces under a battalion commander.

Arutz Sheva has learned that the local Engineering Corps officer was the one who decided that the drivers would be Arabs, even though IDF soldiers who were present said they would be willing to take their places. Drivers from Yitzhar also said they could do the job – but the military would have none of it.

Eventually, Yassam special police forces were brought in. They hit the protesters and let the vehicles into the community by force. There were reports that they also tried to hurt photographers who documented the event.

Yitzhar residents issued a call to supporters to come to their aid. They explained that the more people came to the community to protest, the smaller the danger of violence – and the greater the chance that level heads will prevail.

The principle of "Hebrew labor" (avoda ivrit) was favored by many of the founding fathers of modern Israel, who viewed it as part of what they saw as a required transformation of Jews, from a diaspora existence in which bookish, urban Jews rarely engaged in physical labor, to a "homeland mode" in which Jews defended themselves and did not rely on others for physical labor. The early modern Zionist proponents of the principle of Hebrew labor were largely secular socialists.

Photos: Amihai Ben David