Bennett fights settlers, not terrorists, charges opposition

“This is what it looks like when values have been lost,” said Likud MK Yariv Levin.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Right-wing politicians on Wednesday slammed the overnight raids and arrests at the homes of eight students who study in the yeshiva in the Homesh outpost in Samaria on suspicion of attacking policemen and Palestinians about a month ago.

Religious Zionism Party head MK Betzalel Smotrich said sarcastically, “Suspects who tried to bypass an IDF checkpoint that prevented them from reaching Homesh and confronted the soldiers there. Undoubtedly, one of the most serious crimes known to the State of Israel.

“Really justifies pulling people out of bed, arrest and a search that turns the whole house upside down at 4 a.m. in front of their little kids who will carry this trauma all their lives. Shame on the Israel Police.”

Likud MK Yariv Levin took a broader view in his criticism.

“Instead of fighting against terrorism, Bennett is fighting against the settlers,” he said. “The invasive search of a home with young children in it in the middle of the night, without any serious justification, is dangerous to a democratic society and we must not let it happen.

“This hounding of the settlers must end. This is what it looks like when all restraints have been lost. And this is what it looks like when values have been lost.”

Two of the detainees were injured in the attack two months ago in which fellow student Yehuda Dimentman was murdered by Palestinian terrorists. The yeshiva noted that the timing of the arrests was ironic.

“Only yesterday hundreds came to celebrate a thanksgiving meal with us in honor of those saved in the attack, and now the police came in the middle of the night, as if to the worst of criminals, and arrests the students.”

The Torah center then struck a defiant note, stating, “This government has decided to give a prize to terror and lie to the tens of thousands who have voted for Homesh with their feet. We will continue to hold onto Homesh.”

Dimentman’s family has begged the government to respond to the murder by authorizing the yeshiva on the site, which was destroyed in the 2005 expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria but has been functioning illegally for years in modular structures.

The decision is in the hands of Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who is being pressed by the left wing of the coalition to uphold the law and uproot the yeshiva.

Gantz is seemingly reluctant to do so, telling his faction in January that because of the murder, “We will have to act with sensitivity based on the complexity of the matter.”

Yet three weeks ago, the security forces destroyed — for the fourth time since the terror attack — several structures around the yeshiva, determined not to allow any kind of community to be established there.

The shoving incident that led to Tuesday’s arrest, where police were refusing to let the young men get to their studies, is an example of the ongoing personal harassment of the yeshiva students.

Just last week, the regional IDF commander refused to allow the ashkenazic chief rabbi of Israel, David Lau, to enter Homesh to teach a Torah lesson.

Preventing his arrival, said the administration, “is another attempt to harm the yeshiva in order to prepare the ground for the destruction of the yeshiva, award a prize to terrorism and complete the job of those who murdered Yehuda.”