Beit Yatir students in support of IDF
Beit Yatir students in support of IDFIsrael news photo: Moti Ovadia

A police investigation into the recent riot at the IDF’s Ephraim Brigade base in Samaria has found that the culprits are students from the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem and not so-called ‘hilltop youth’ from Judea and Samaria as was first believed.

According to a Channel 10 report on Tuesday, police found out that on the evening of the attack a bus filled with nationalist activists, who feared that authorities were on their way to evacuate the community of Ramat Gilad, left the Mercaz Harav yeshiva. The investigation found that the activists were driven to the Kedumim intersection and from there made their way to the base.

The report said nationalists allegedly briefed the rioters on how to handle an interrogation by police. The rioters were reportedly instructed to remain silent and not cooperate with the investigation.

Channel 10 said that police are getting close to finding out the full list of people who took part in the riot. The Mercaz Harav yeshiva was surprised by the report and clarified to Channel 10 that the yeshiva itself had no connection to the incident.

The incident on December 12 involved dozens of youths who entered the base following rumors of an imminent destruction of a Jewish community. Several were arrested.

Clashes broke out between soldiers and the protesters, who burned tires and damaged some military vehicles. Police reinforcements helped chase the youth from the base while carrying out several arrests. Until now the riots have largely been blamed on youth from Judea and Samaria, though that appears not to be the case if Tuesday’s report is accurate.

Meir Brettler, one of the leaders of the hilltop youth, responded to the report on Tuesday, telling Arutz Sheva that he and his friends were not surprised by the findings that it was not hilltop youth who broke into the base.

“We are confident from past experience that the police’s new allegations will turn out to be mostly nonsense,” he said.