Campaign Calls on Settlers Not to Harm Soldiers

The Shuvi movement for disengagement, many of whose activists are mothers of soldiers, is launching a campaign entitled, "Don't raise your hand against my son." The emotional appeal is directed at radical settlers, following attacks on soldiers during the evacuation of outposts and at Kfar Maimon.

The women's organization's activists say they fear the soldiers will be physically attacked. They also say they fear the damage caused by the heavy psychological pressure exerted on the young men in the IDF.

The campaign will consist of ads in religious media such as the Makor Rishon weekly newspaper, the Hatzofeh daily, local publications and leaflets distributed in synagogues.

Shuvi's previous attempt to appeal to Gush Katif residents failed. Letters from movement members a year ago asking the settlers to move voluntarily and offering assistance were destroyed without reaching their destination. Now too, although the advertising space is paid for, several newspapers canceled agreements to publish the ads at the last moment.

The ads show a soldier looking the reader in the eye, with the caption, "He got his humor from mother, the giant heart from father; the assignments he got from the IDF - don't raise your hand against my son."

Ronit Ahrenfreund-Cohen, a Shuvi activist and the mother of a soldier in a brigade assigned to evacuate Rafah Yam and Neveh Dekalim, told Haaretz she was worried that her son would be physically hurt, perhaps even by firearms. She said she was extremely troubled by the psychological pressure and the curses hurled at him by the settlers. "My mother, my son's grandmother, is an Auschwitz survivor. It is not easy for him to deal with cries of `Nazi,'" she said.

"We must remind the settlers that the soldiers they are cursing and railing at have ensured their safety for years, enabling them to live normal lives. Sometimes, the soldiers paid with their lives and the lives of their friends, to safeguard them," she said.

Now, the soldiers are being placed in the impossible situation of not being allowed to respond to the curses and psychological warfare, she said.