One Picture From the Evyatar Outpost

Akiva Eldar
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Soldiers assist in carrying prefabricated temporary homes in Evyatar.
Akiva Eldar

At first glance, the picture of the soldiers helping the lawbreaking settlers to drag prefab buildings in the outpost of Evyatar raises one’s blood pressure. How is it possible that our children – yes, they’ll always remain the children of all of us – are helping to steal land in broad daylight? Uniformed men who are cooperating with lawbreakers must be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

What a good thing it is that now we have a government headed by decent people who advocate safeguarding the law and justice. They will certainly make sure that the army puts an end to this awful practice. Even the Israel Defense Forces spokesman admitted that the soldiers deviated from their mission, and noted that the event did not take place with the approval of a military commander. He even promised that “the incident will be investigated and if necessary, disciplinary action will be taken against the soldiers.” Good for him.

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On second glance, my heart goes out to these young people. The commander ordered them to guard the nice kids who are perspiring on the hill. After all, it’s unthinkable that the State of Israel would send its finest sons to guard lawbreakers. So if it’s all right to guard the new houses for a few weeks, what’s so terrible about giving a little help to Jews? How can a guy or girl know that they’re collaborating with criminals, when they see the members of the legislature, including the outgoing coalition head Miki Zohar, going on pilgrimages to the settlement, and the chairman of the Religious Zionism party, Bezalel Smotrich, participating in the festive event of bringing a Torah scroll to the synagogue? What are 18-year-olds supposed to understand from the sight of the head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, moving his office to the site?

No, dear spokesperson, this is not an “incident” that the IDF must investigate. The photo of them dragging the prefab building is an X-ray of a body that has been taken over by the cancer of the occupation and its outgrowths. This is not the first time that the head of Central Command is issuing an order to an outpost that bans bringing construction materials or building at the site.

The West Bank is covered by dozens of similar outposts, which the government sooner or somewhat later linked up to electricity and water, built them a synagogue and educational facilities. The new Knesset finds on its desk a proposal to approve 70 such outposts. Excuse me, today they’re called the “young settlements.”

With the change in government, every Jewish mother and father who accompany their children to the army induction base are entitled to know that they didn’t raise them to guard thieves in the name of Torah. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has to come down immediately from the roof of the grocery store in Beit El, to which he climbed six years ago to attack the defense minister for ordering the evacuation of the settlers’ homes that were built on private Palestinian land. “That’s an act that does not accord with the spirit of the government of which we are members,” declared the man who was then the education minister in Netanyahu’s government.

The new government promises to carry the spirit of change and tidings of repair. The change is waiting on the hills of Samaria. The message must come down from the Prime Minister’s Office, via the defense minister and the IDF chief of staff, and to reach the last of the soldiers: It is forbidden to steal even from helpless Palestinians; orders must be honored; there are also racist politicians.

Let’s not blame the young porters. The burden that society has placed on their shoulders is too heavy to bear. The obligation of the members of the unity government is to remove it as soon as possible. Will the tidings of repair come from Evyatar, or are there many more Evyatars still awaiting us?

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