The commander of the Israeli army and the Jewish mutation – Mondoweiss
On Sunday, Israeli Colonel Roi Zweig said:
The army and the colonization enterprise are one and the same thing.
Zweig is the commander of the Samaria Brigade, and he was speaking in the national-religious settlement of Elon Moreh, just northeast of Nablus in the northern occupied Palestinian West Bank, at his religious seminary Yeshiva. The colonel’s statement was not a slip, it was elaborate:
It has often been said that the army and the colonies worked together. I don’t agree with that, I think the army and the colonization enterprise are one and the same… Anyone who says that the army and the settlers work together is making a distinction between the two populations.
The event took place on Jerusalem Day, Israel’s most notorious nationalist day celebrating Israel’s 1967 capture and blatant illegal annexation of East Jerusalem, a day that includes the “flag march” where dozens of Thousands of Israelis rush through East Jerusalem with youths regularly chanting “death to Arabs”. The event included the head of the Samaria Settlers Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, whom Zweig calls “my dear friend Yossi.”
Zweig’s words are blatant when you look at what they say – settlers are not citizens or civilians as such – they are a kind of army, working with the real army for a sacred mission. This is a blatant rhetorical nullification of the principle of distinction – but it actually confirms what we have seen and increasingly over the past few years – of settlers attacking Palestinians not only with the protection of the army , but also with active assistance – sometimes with soldiers literally handing over their weapons to the settlers.
But it is a great danger to erase this distinction completely. This principle of distinction is at the heart of the international laws of war, it means that there is a difference between a civilian and a soldier – otherwise there are simply no protected persons – and it does not only mean the Palestinians, of whom Zweig cares little – but also the Jews, to whom he cares a great deal.
It is certainly for this reason that IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi reportedly decided that Zweig should be reprimanded for his comments, as well as for failing to coordinate his presence. at the event with the army. The “clarification talk,” as it was dubbed by the military, was led by Judea and Samaria Division Commander Avi Blot. According to The Times of Israel, Zweig’s comments “drew criticism from leftist pundits, who accused them of being further evidence of an inappropriate relationship between the Israel Defense Forces and West Bank settlers, which they say is to the detriment of Palestinians and prevents soldiers from acting against settlers who break the law.
This is the so-called political correctness of the army leadership. But look what happened then: Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the Religious Zionism party, would have none of that. Smotrich hit back at the army’s decision to reprimand Zweig, said Zweig’s comments were completely accurate and that “a thousand humiliating capitulations from the IDF’s higher command to attacks from the left and the Haaretz newspaper is not there.” won’t change anything.”
And that’s the voice that religious settlers really listen to – Smotrich and Zweig, not Kochavi and Blot (and certainly not Haaretz).
This isn’t the first time Zweig has done a stunt that has embarrassed the military. In April, he was in charge of protecting the renovation of Joseph’s Tomb, a site just on the eastern outskirts of Nablus, less than 3 miles from Elon Moreh, a site that attracts these religious settlers. The military tried to keep it under the radar for security reasons, but Zweig shouted it to the media and had it broadcast live. He told the soldiers that they had entered the tomb “not as thieves in the night, but as sons of kings” and that “we too are privileged to restore the honor of the land and the people of ‘Israel”.
This messianic rhetoric is reminiscent of that of another bigoted religious commander, Brig. General Ofer Winter, who in 2014, as commander of the Givati Brigade, called on his soldiers to wage a holy war in Gaza in the name of Israel’s God, against “the enemy who defiles his name”. Winter was singularly responsible for perhaps the most egregious war crime of these 51 days of death and destruction – the so-called “Black Friday” bombing of Rafah on August 1.st, an attempt to kill Israel’s own captured soldier, Hadar Goldin, under the notorious Hannibal directive, the principle of which is to shell the area in order to ensure that no hostage negotiation needs to have venue. Winter’s maximum firing order with thousands of bombs, missiles and shells in a dense residential area, caused the death of 135 to 200 civilians within hours. Winter has since been promoted.
It’s crazy, but it’s very much in tune with the times of the Israeli army, as defined by Winter and Zweig. They are waging a holy war, and they are withdrawing all religious orders. And who will stop them? No one is.
This is the “Jewish mutation” as Haaretz journalist Amira Hass recently called it:
Is there now in every country in the world a single responsible adult who will openly say, “To hell with this Jewish mutation that is growing there in the Middle East – in other words, the State of Israel – lost her. Panicked, lost his mind, went crazy. Because of its military, nuclear, and high-tech power, combined with all the religious fervor, because of its alliance with the United States, that has to worry us. Absolutely.”
But I think it’s time to remember that supposedly secular liberals like Defense Secretary Benny Gantz may be less religiously explicit, less “Jewish” so to speak, but their nationalist fervor in the name of the Jewish state can be just as unbalanced. When Gantz entered politics in 2019, he bragged about taking Gaza “back to the stone age” as chief of staff, during the 2014 assault. Ofer Winter said so. called a holy war, Gantz harvested the age-old seeds of destruction.
And I have to say, it’s all about Zionism. Zionism is the Jewish mutation, this fusion of religion with nationalist fervor. I know there are so-called secular Zionists. But Zionism at its core is not truly secular, and while there were those who were perhaps naïve enough to believe that there would be peaceful Zionism, its colonialist nature simply does not sit well with of this peace and this coexistence. Some thought the religious aspect would be toned down or moderated, even though it is a Jewish state. But how could that be, when your national motto is truly Jewish supremacy? It was clear that this would happen, even though Israel’s early rulers were supposed to be secular. The state’s founder, David Ben-Gurion, a supposedly secular person, occasionally spoke in outrageously messianic terms: He referred to the Bible as his “deed” for Palestine when he addressed the British Royal Peel Commission in 1936; during Israel’s war against Egypt in 1956, Ben-Gurion told parliament that Israel had undertaken the campaign not for “defensive purposes but to establish part of the kingdom of David and Solomon” (according to the late Israel Shahak).
Zionism fed this religious fundamentalism. It is true that today we seem to hear more explicit religious proclamations from military leaders like Zweig and Winter. But whether it comes from them or from secular Israelis like Gantz, the result is much the same – they all seek to return Palestine to the Stone Age by asserting Jewish supremacy based on the mythology of the age. bronze. What do you expect when you consider Jews a “nation” and even deny an Israeli nationality in favor of Jewish supremacy?
I agree with Hassan. The hell with that. Israel lost it. Panicked, lost his mind, went crazy. But that’s no surprise, and we should have seen it a long time ago.
H/t Ofer Neiman
So where are the Palestinian voices in the mainstream media?
Mondoweiss covers the full picture of the struggle for justice in Palestine. Read by tens of thousands of people every month, our truth journalism is an essential counterweight to the propaganda that passes for news in mainstream and traditional media.
Our news and analysis are accessible to everyone, which is why we need your support. Please contribute so that we can continue to raise the voice of those who defend the rights of Palestinians to live in dignity and peace.
Today, Palestinians are fighting for their lives as the mainstream media turns away. Please support journalism that amplifies urgent voices calling for freedom and justice in Palestine.