Netanyahu slams ‘absurd’ proposed US sanctions against IDF unit as ‘a moral low’

The US proposal would deny military aid to ultra-Orthodox IDF Unit over alleged human rights violations. 

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called proposed sanctions against an ultra-Orthodox unit for alleged violations ‘the height of absurdity” and a “moral low.”

On Friday, Axios reported that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was considering applying the Leahy Law, which prohibits the U.S. from funding foreign police and military units suspected of human rights abuses.

He said, “I’ve made determinations; you can expect to see them in the days ahead,” Blinken said.

It was also reported that the ultra-Orthodox IDF unit Netzah Yehuda would face US sanctions over the death of an 80-year-old Palestinian-American suspect Omar Assad, who died of cardiac arrest while he was handcuffed.

Other units operating in Judea and Samaria were investigated by the U.S. for alleged violations, but were not sanctioned when they agreed to reform their policies.

Netzah Yehuda, also known as Nahal Haredi, which recruits religiously observant soldiers, now operates primarily in the Golan Heights, after years of being deployed to Judea and Samaria.

Netanyahu and Israeli ministers blasted the proposal by the Biden Administration.

Netanyahu posted on X Saturday night, “At a time when our soldiers are fighting terrorist monsters, the intention to sanction a unit in the IDF is the height of absurdity and a moral low.”

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He added, “In recent weeks, I have been working against the leveling of sanctions on Israeli citizens, including in my conversations with senior American government officials.”

“The government I head will act by all means against these moves. Sanctions must not be imposed on the Israel Defense Forces!” Netanyahu concluded.

Former Defense Minister and IDF Chief-of-Staff Benny Gantz, who now serves as Minister Without Portfolio, posted on X, “The ‘Netzah Yehuda’ battalion is an inseparable part of the Israel Defense Forces. It is subject to military law and is responsible for operating in full compliance with International law.”

“I have great appreciation for our American friends, but the decision to impose sanctions on an IDF unit and its soldiers sets a dangerous precedent and conveys the wrong message to our shared enemies during wartime,” he said.

“I intend on acting to have this decision changed,” Gantz added.