MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
MK Binyamin Ben-Eliezer Israel news photo: Flash 90

Former Defense and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, shocking even the left, says the IDF should have shot to kill Jewish youth who raided an IDF base Monday night.

Approximately 50 youth, acting on a rumor of an imminent demolition of a Jewish community in Samaria, infiltrated into the base, vandalized vehicles and clashed with soldiers who chased them away. Several were arrested.

Ben-Eliezer told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Wednesday that, repeating a media canard that a later IDF report denied, the youth almost killed a brigade commander when he arrived at the community that was rumored to be demolished.

One of the youth told the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharanot newspaper that despite assertions by Ben-Eliezer and virtually the entire media and political establishment that the youth are hilltop settlers, "People came from Afula, Jerusalem, Haifa, Dimona and the surrounding communities. At some point we spotted police squad cars heading towards Ramat Gilad. There was tension in the air…. The IDF spokesman's claim that the events were planned and intentional is false. The rage and despair got out of control.”

Ben-Eliezer called them “terrorists” and said the IDF had an obligation to shoot at the attackers with live fire.

Likud Knesset Member Miri Regev called on Ben-Eliezer to retract his remarks, but when interviewed on Israeli radio, he reiterated that the attackers are “a band of criminals who took a block and threw it an IDF commander and almost killed him.” This turned out to be a false rumor that the MK did not check out before his statement. He stood by his remarks to the Knesset committee, where he stated, “It is a shame the army did not shoot.”

It is easy to imagine what the former minister would say if soldiers shot at Arab protestors who daily endanger their lives. Several are serving sentences for that at present..

He added, “When they raid an IDF base, it does not make any difference if they are Arabs or Jews, The attackers have to be eliminated.”

Ben-Eliezer referred to the days before the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin during his comments on radio Wednesday. “I saw murder in their eyes. I was called crazy when I warned that someone would be murdered, but I was right.”

He mentioned that he was not including all residents of Judea and Samaria in his definition of “terrorists.”

National Union Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad charged that the response to the IDF raid has been “hysterical.” He told Voice of Israel government radio that when everyone was afraid that Arabs would stage mass demonstrations last September in support of the Palestinian Authority bid for United Nations membership, the army specifically ordered soldiers not to shoot at any Arabs who infiltrated into Jewish communities.

“Only Jews can be shot,” he asked. “This is hysteria.’