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After retiring, IDF general slams settler violence, coalition politicians attack

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Outgoing head of the IDF Central Command Major General Yehudah Fuchs attends a replacing ceremony held at the IDF Central Command headquarters in Jerusalem on July 8, 2024 (Photo: Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90).

IDF Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, the outgoing commander of the Central Command responsible for Judea and Samaria, retired from the IDF after 37 years. In his departure speech on Monday, he criticized settler violence, which he noted had increased at the start of the Gaza War. 

During the change of command ceremony in Jerusalem, where Fuchs handed over responsibility to Maj.-Gen. Avi Bluth, he said: “Unfortunately, in recent months, nationalist crime has raised its head, and under the auspices of war and the desire for revenge, it has sown chaos and fear in the Palestinian residents who did not pose any threat.” 

Fuchs slammed local officials, including religious leaders, who “did not find the strength” to oppose the acts of aggression and violence committed by Israeli settlers, primarily in Judea and Samaria, internationally known as the West Bank. Settler violence, including physical assaults, vandalism, arson, destruction of crops and intimidation, occurs in areas with significant tensions between Israeli residents and Palestinian communities and is often seen as a means to assert control over land and resources.

“To my dismay, the local leadership and the spiritual leadership, for the most part, did not see the threat like we did, they are deterred and do not find the strength to come out openly and act in the light of the Jewish values ​​that they educate their children in,” Fuchs stated.

The outgoing commander said the violence and failure to oppose it “is not Judaism.” 

“Even if the rioters are a minority, those who remain silent in the face of their crimes do not exclude them and their actions, thereby condemning everyone,” Fuchs said. “This is not Judaism in my eyes. At least not the one I grew up on in my father’s and mother’s home. This is not the way of Torah.” 

According to Fuchs, this kind of violence is “adopting the ways of the enemy,” and said that protecting Palestinian civilians who are not affiliated with terror interests “is not only the legal responsibility of the head of command, and not only a moral value, it also serves Israel’s security interests.” 

His comments echoed the words of IDF Binyamin Brigade Commander Lt.- Col. Eliav Elbaz, who retired from his position in October, who said that settler violence “shames me as a Jew.” 

Fuchs also addressed IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, who was present at the ceremony. 

Describing recent criticism of Halevi by coalition politicians, Fuchs said, “I am ashamed and hurt as a commander, but first of all as a citizen, by the savage attacks you are experiencing.”  

Halevi responded to Fuchs’ comments during his speech.

“I take this opportunity to thank you also on behalf of the minority – the minority that does not know how to be grateful, that does not know how to appreciate, that chooses to frequently condemn those who deal with public needs with faith. A minority that has chosen inappropriately to attack you… You acted with a stable moral compass and according to the law, which some want to bend, and some want to forget.” 

Fuchs emphasized the need for a strong Palestinian Authority from a security perspective.

“The ability of the Central Command to fulfill its missions also depends on the existence of a functioning and strong Palestinian Authority, with effective security mechanisms that maintain law and order,” Fuchs stated. “Proactively undermining the security reality in this arena endangers the security of the State of Israel.” 

Fuchs’ speech provoked reactions from coalition politicians and was not his first condemnation of settler violence. He has faced severe criticism from settlers and their political supporters, particularly within the coalition government. Last year, he called the settler attack at Huwara, “a pogrom that came through violation of the law.” 

Following his speech on Monday, Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli condemned Fuchs for making a “political speech.” 

“A farewell speech from the army is not a platform for political speeches,” Chikli said. 

He also blasted Fuchs for his support for the Palestinian Authority (PA). 

The PA “continues to pay billions to terrorists who murder Jews, educates in its schools about hatred of Israel and terrorism, incites in its mosques, many dozens of members of its apparatuses even carried out attacks themselves during your tenure,” Chikli charged. 

Knesset Member Zvi Sukkot of the Religious Zionism party welcomed Fuchs’ departure, posting to social media, “Goodbye and see you never.” 

Jewish Power MK Limor Son Har-Melech accused Fuchs of endangering settlers, saying he is “completely disconnected from reality.” 


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Read More: After retiring, IDF general slams settler violence, coalition politicians attack

2024-07-09 15:31:17

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