Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a security meeting after a West Bank attack near Eli.
Haim Zach / GPOIsrael's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds a security meeting after a West Bank attack near Eli.

The assailants were apparently friends of the victim

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday evening condemned Jewish settlers who verbally abused and drove off senior IDF officer Col. Eliav Elbaz during his visit to the family of an Israeli killed in a recent terror attack in the West Bank.

Elbaz is responsible for commanding Israeli troops in the Ramallah area of the West Bank. He visited the family of one of the four victims of the recent terror attack near the settlement of Eli, 21-year-old Harel Masood. 

According to videos circulating on social media, the commander of the Binyamin Regional Brigade was chased out by settlers who called him “traitor” and “murderer.” The assailants were apparently friends of the victim.

“My friend’s blood is on your hands, you murderer. Get out of here, murderer,” they shouted, forcing the officer to leave. 

The IDF issued a statement saying that the settlers “behaved towards [Elbaz] in a way that is not proper and disrespectful.” Netanyahu called the incident a “disgrace.” 

"The assault and cursing against IDF Binyamin Regional Brigade Commander Col. Eliav Elbaz, who commands the IDF forces that safeguard Israeli citizens, are a disgrace and I strongly condemn them. We will neither tolerate nor accept any kind of violence against IDF officers and soldiers," the prime minister’s statement said. 

Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke with Elbaz following the incident and vowed “to bring justice” to those who assaulted him. 

“Col. Elbaz is an outstanding officer who dedicates his life to Israel’s security and works day and night to protect its citizens. Harming IDF soldiers and officers is like harming the state flag. We will not allow it, we will bring justice to the perpetrators,” the minister tweeted. 

The incident was also condemned by Israeli far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir who usually defend Jewish settlers

“There is no justification for these terrible calls against an IDF commander who dedicates his life to the defense of Israel,” Smotrich said. “Shame on you.”

“There is no place for behavior like this and calls like these against IDF commanders,” said Ben-Gvir.

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