Merav Michaeli
Merav MichaeliKnesset spokesperson

Labor party leader MK Merav Michaeli denounced the haredi battalion 'Netzach Yehuda' after reports that the United States is considering imposing sanctions on it.

"Sanctions on Netzach Yehuda battalion are a severe, tough, and very worrying step. The response to them should be a falling of the token, recognition of reality and understanding that Israel's conduct in the territories cannot continue," Michaeli began.

She noted that "the violent and corrupt conduct of Netzach Yehuda and its surroundings has been known for years, and nothing has been done to stop it. Already two years ago, the U.S. established an investigation team on the battalion, the political and military ranks cannot pretend they didn't know about it."

She continued with criticism: "Instead of recognition and confrontation, we once again receive a dose of denial and obfuscation, lies and covering up of the bitter reality. Denials that led to a situation where Israel's most important strategic ally imposes sanctions on an IDF battalion."

She also criticized the soldiers themselves: "Netzach Yehuda is an IDF battalion that should have been dismantled many years ago. Most haredi people who serve in the IDF do not serve in it today. It is a battalion of 'hilltop youth' who see religion as an excuse to attack Arabs".

Michaeli added that "This is a battalion that enables and even enthusiastically produces settler violence. A battalion that allowed an 80-year-old Palestinian-American citizen to die in the field, that kills Palestinians for no real reason, a battalion that beats Palestinian detainees and abuses them."

"Automatically defending Netzach Yehuda and saying it is 'an integral part of the IDF' casts a heavy shadow on the entire IDF. It's one of the things that corrupts the IDF, damages its professionalism, and its ability to win, in addition to the severe international damage to Israel's legitimacy," Michaeli wrote.

She continued her remarks with criticism of the establishment of a special battalion for the haredim: "As I have said and written for years - the IDF should not establish homogeneous units based on origin or ideology. These are militias and dangerous in every way. I am sure there are also soldiers there who could have integrated into other IDF units and this should be enabled for them".

Finally she wrote: "These sanctions must make the IDF understand this, to urgently dismantle Netzach Yehuda and act accordingly for the future, building both physical and moral strength."