IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz
IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi PeretzFlash 90

IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier General Rafi Peretz met Tuesday with senior and key religious Zionist rabbis to discuss a unified response to the attack on the Ephraim Brigade headquarters by angry Jewish youths in Samaria.

Rabbi Peretz told his interlocutors that he strongly condemned crimes of revenge of any kind, including the raid on the Ephraim Brigade that saw violent clashes between soldiers and some 50 Jewish youth responding to rumors a demolition orders against Jewish communities in the region were to be carried out.

During the incident the youth burned tires, and hurled Molotov cocktails and stones. Police reinforcements had to be brought in to regain control of the installation. In a separate incident stones were hurled at the Ephraim Brigade commander's car.

Peretz told his fellow rabbis "It must be understood we cannot tolerate or forgive incidents like this. They cause unnecessary internal conflict. We must march together as one. This undermines the army, which is critical to our survival, and strikes at the basic foundations of Israel as a sovereign state."

He said he maintains such actions are proscribed both halakhically and ethically.

The Association of Hesder Yeshivas strongly condemned the incident in a statement released to the press. The attack was universally condemned by Jewish communal leaders in Judea and Samaria who described the incident as "shameful and disgraceful." Rabbis from across the orthodox spectrum in Israel have also condemned the incident.

On Tuesday evening dozens of residents from the region gathered at the Ephraim Brigade headquarters to rally in support of the IDF and express their dismay.

Anger among Jewish youth in Judea and Samaria has reached a peak in recent years as IDF personnel – as opposed to police – have been routinely used to carry out surprise demolition orders on Jewish homes in the region in decisions made by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

At the time of the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, observers predicted using the IDF to expel Jews from their homes would lead to estrangement of idealistic young Israelis from the IDF who were shocked to see soldiers following orders that destroyed their lives and contradicted the Zionist values the IDF is sworn to defend.

However, there was no avoidance of enlistment on the part of the youngsters who came to the Katif Bloc to protest or were exiled from their homes there during the disengagement.

Some of those young people, however, felt that the peaceful, quiet protests that preceded the disengagement were a tactical mistake because the government ignored them – despite the hundreds of thousands of Israelis who took to the streets against the disastrous move.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday convened a special cabinet meeting to discuss the incident at the Ephraim Brigade headquarters and called on his senior security officials to draft an 'emergency plan' for dealing with attacks on IDF personnel and materials in Judea and Samaria.