Benjamin Ben-Eliezer
Benjamin Ben-Eliezer Photo by Moti Milrod
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Israeli soldiers should have shot right-wing rioters while they assaulted army personnel, Labor MK and former Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said on Wednesday.

Ben-Eliezer's comments came after some 50 settlers and right-wing activists entered a key West Bank military base early Tuesday morning and threw rocks, burned tires, and vandalized military vehicles. Right-wing activists also assaulted a top Israel Defense Forces officer.

The settlers were acting in response to a rumor that the IDF would act to evict a West Bank settlement in accordance with an August Supreme Court ruling.

Referring to the incident on Wednesday, Ben-Eliezer, said that a "gang of criminals took a brick, slammed it in the [IDF officer's] face and nearly killed him. It's a sham that no one was arrested, it's a shame that no one fired, that no one responded."

"What happened yesterday is terror, pure and simple, terror," the former minister said, adding: "I don't differentiate between Jew and Arab when someone's trying to kill you."

Opposition Leader and Kadiman chairperson Tzipi Livni also referred to recent attacks, saying that there was a direct link "between the exclusion of women from the public sphere and assaults on army officers and the burning down of mosques."

"This is an ideological wave that wishes to institute a different country here with a world view that forces something that is unrelated to a Jewish tradition on a secular majority," Livni said, adding: "This is nothing less than a struggle for the nation's character sponsored by [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's silence."

Earlier Wednesday, arsonists set fire to a deserted mosque in central Jerusalem, also a noted Muslim historical site. There was no structural damage reported and the damage mainly consisted of the blackening of walls and graffiti reading “Price Tag,” and anti-Islamic phrases.

Later on Wednesday, settler leaders, who have been denouncing the recent violence against the IDF and Islamic places of worship, began attacking the left for its zealous attacks on settlers, saying that the left was not interested in stopping the violence, but rather only in attacking settlers.

“It is difficult to free oneself from the notion that many of them [the left] are not really interested in the wellbeing of Brigade commander Efrayim, and all they want is to attack settlers politically, harm their public image, and possibly physically hurt them,” said Danny Dayan, chairman of the Yesha Council of settlements.

“We will continue decisively fighting the violence undeterred, but also the hypocrite left that is only interested in destroying all that was built in the West Bank,” he added.

“The Council of Samarian Settlers demands that Netanyahu insures that the new special taskforce he is putting together will first of all forcefully deal with the serial rioters, that weekly disrupt the work on the security fence, harming the IDF’s soldiers and officers with stones and Molotov cocktails, and vandalizing military vehicles,“ the council said in a statement.

“It is inconceivable that the Prime Minister act in such a hypocritical manner, and use all the forces at his disposal to deal solely with frustrated Jews, while ignoring the relentless lawbreakers well- known to the security forces “, the Council added.

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