Right-wing activists on Monday evening verbally attacked the commander of the IDF’s Binyamin Brigade, Eliav Elbaz, who had arrived to pay a condolence visit at the home of Harel Masoud, who was murdered last week in the terrorist attack at the gas station in Eli.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said, "This is an unusual and unacceptable incident against a commander who works night and day for the safety of the residents."
Gil Masoud, Harel's father, said, "During the week, politicians from the right and the left arrived here and were welcomed, because we welcome everyone with love. Tonight, the commander arrived here without prior coordination, on a sensitive evening with all of Harel's friends in attendance. We will be very happy to meet him face to face."
MK Hili Tropper (National Unity Party) said in response, "The commander of the Binyamin Brigade, Eliav Elbaz, dedicates his life to the security of Israel. The shouts of 'murderer' towards a brave commander, who risks his life for the sake of the lives of all of us, are an indication of a profound disruption of values and are a great disgrace.On this evening and in view of the increasing number of attacks on senior officers, we would do good to remember that the absolute majority of the Israeli people cherish and appreciate the commanders of the IDF."
Former Defense Minister and National Unity Party chairman Benny Gantz responded to the incident, "Colonel Eliav Elbaz is an officer and commander who dedicates his life to the security of the country. The calls against him are not only disgraceful, they are indicative of a failure of values and of the tailwind that extremists are receiving these days against the security forces. The actions and the statements we have seen in recent days could end in disaster."
The head of the Efrat Local Council, Oded Revivi, said, "As an elected official and head of a local council in Judea and Samaria, I regretted and was hurt by the words and slurs against the commander of the Binyamin Brigade as seen in the video when he came for a condolence visit. I, too, often have criticism, but I have never been confused, the IDF is not the enemy. Our children serve in it and those who care serve in it as well."
“Despite the feeling of pain and frustration in view of the increase in terrorism, taking the law into one's own hands must be stopped immediately, flames must be lowered and the army allowed to concentrate on offensive missions against Palestinian terrorism. So that we can hit the terrorists before they go out to attack, so that we can settle accounts with the attackers in the villages, so that we can prevent the firing of explosives and rockets, we must stop the assault on the IDF and turn to the path of dialogue, understanding and cooperation."
Earlier on Monday, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi reiterated his support for the IDF's commanders and their responses to recent terrorist attacks and anti-Arab rioting in Judea and Samaria.
“I am proud of the IDF’s brigade commanders in all arenas, and particularly of those responsible for the Judea and Samaria region during these times. The IDF’s Commanding officers stand first in line alongside their soldiers, operate against terrorist activity and maintain the security of Israel’s civilians while risking their own lives. They are also first in line when it is required to prevent harm to Palestinian civilians - that is unfortunately inflicted by Israeli civilians," Halevi said.
"These two missions serve the goal of maintaining the security of the State of Israel and its civilians. The brigade commanders’ important activity deserves the utmost appreciation, and I fully and uncompromisingly support them,” he added.
On Sunday, Halevi defended Elbaz, after residents of the Binyamin region accused Elbaz of being the one who led the security forces that closed off Ateret on Saturday night, following riots in the Palestinian Arab city of Umm Safa.
"This is an improper and unwelcome discourse that harms a public servant who acts professionally, by virtue of the law, and in a moral and stately manner. Eliav is a combat officer, moral and ethical, who acted and continues to act while risking his life for the security of the residents of Judea and Samaria in particular, and the citizens of the State of Israel in general," Halevi insisted.