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Netanyahu Backs Army Against Ben-Gvir

Netanyahu Backs Army Against Ben-Gvir

Thursday, 1 December, 2022 - 08:30
Activists dispersing after the Israeli soldiers fired tear gas near Hebron in September (EPA)

Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu has joined the critics of Ultra-nationalist Jewish Power leader Itamar Ben-Gvir, calling for Israel's military to be "left out of any political argument".

"The Israeli army is the people's army, I call on everyone, right and left, to leave it out of any political debate," Netanyahu tweeted.

His tweet was in response to Ben-Gvir’s criticism of a decision by Israel’s army to sentence soldiers who taunted activists in the West Bank city of Hebron last week.

"We will not allow intervention by any politician, left or right, in commanders' decisions, nor use of the military to promote a political agenda," Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi slammed Ben-Gvir.

Ben-Gvir responded to Kohavi, saying that he respected him, but “I would expect from the chief of staff that just as he demanded that a soldier not express himself politically, he himself would refrain from political statements.”

Earlier, the army arrested several soldiers who assaulted activists in Hebron and threatened them that when Ben-Gvir is assigned to the ministry of public security the rule will be imposed.

A soldier told an activist, “I am the law… Ben-Gvir is going to sort things out in this place.”

“The fun is over,” the soldier added.

Another footage showed a soldier tackling an activist to the ground, punching him in the face, and pointing a weapon against him.

Ben-Gvir said that there was nothing unacceptable about the soldier’s behavior and asked to visit him in the military prison on Wednesday.

For its part, the army reiterated that the Givati Brigade soldiers who beat and cursed at left-wing activists in Hebron on Friday were found at fault.

“The violent behavior toward the civilian was unacceptable… and the soldier is not permitted to express himself in a belligerent manner while expressing a political affiliation,” the army added.

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