Right-wing minister compares Israeli security chiefs to rogue Russian mercenary group, apologizes

Orit Strock castigates top security brass over joint statement condemning Jewish rioting in Palestinian towns, compares security officials to Wagner Group, which engaged in brief coup attempt.

By World Israel News Staff

Orit Strock (Religious Zionist Party), Minister of Settlements and National Missions, castigated Israeli security chiefs Monday over a joint statement accusing Jewish rioters of “terrorism” following a deadly Palestinian terrorist attack in Samaria.

On Saturday, IDF chief, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, and Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai on Saturday described the recent string of riots and retaliatory attacks by Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria against Palestinians as “nationalist terrorism.”

Jewish rioters vandalized Arab property in Palestinian Authority-administered towns across Samaria following the murder of four Israelis at a gas station outside of the Israeli town of Eli last week.

Strock blasted the joint statement during an interview with Radio Kol Berama Monday morning, comparing the political comments by top security brass to the abortive coup in Russia by the mercenary Wagner Group.

“The Chief of Staff, the Police Commissioner, and the Shin Bet Chief released a joint statement about Jewish nationalistic terrorism. Who are they, the Wagner group? Who do you think you are that you release a statement like this under the government’s nose? They’ll tell me off? I oppose these incidents, but it’s a disgrace to call it nationalist terror.”

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“I think that such things should not be done under any circumstances, and I use this platform to call on anyone who thinks of doing this type of action in the future not to do it. This is not our way at all, to harm people in this way.

“In a normal country, the ones who should act against a village of murderers are the security forces.”

In addition, Strock highlighted claims of multiple instances of excessive use of force and collective punishment by police against Israeli residents of Samaria.

Over the weekend, residents of the town of Ateret accused police of laying “siege” to their community, strictly limiting entry and exit to and from the town as a form of collective punishment for the recent rioting by a small group of locals.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Strock’s comments, while at the same time calling for a probe into police behavior vis-à-vis Israeli residents of Samaria.

“The leaders and personnel of our security services are working day and night to defend the State of Israel and its citizens,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement to the press.

“In a democracy, everyone is subject to criticism; however, there are no grounds for denigrating the people who are leading our fight against terrorism and for the security of Israel. In light of the recent upsurge in complaints, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered an inquiry into claims regarding the use of excessive force by the security forces against citizens in Judea and Samaria.”

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Strock later apologized via Twitter for comparing Israeli security chiefs to the Wagner Group, while reiterating her criticism of their joint statement.

“I say here and now: the expression ‘Wagner Group’ was a mistake, and I apologize for it. It has been brought up a great deal lately in the news, but it was very, very unsuitable [in this case]. Please forgive me!”

“However, I do not hold back from the objective criticism that the heads of our security systems, as dedicated and worthy of appreciation as they are, should not be preachers of morality but producers of security,” she said.

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