Unexpected Takes by Ono Professor on Planned Druze “Rescue Mission” and Attack on Human Rights Activist in Hebron

Prof. Yuval Elbashan, Dean of the Jerusalem Multicultural Campuses at Ono Academic College was interviewed on Israel Channel 14’s  “The Report” Current Affairs program to discuss several events that were prominently reported in the Israeli media.

Recently, Israeli Druze youth, Tiran Ferro (17), was critically injured in an automobile accident on the roads of the Palestinian Authority.  While in a Palestinian hospital in Jenin, according to Ferro’s family who were by his side at the time, about 30 masked gunmen from the Islamic Jihad terrorist organization removed him from his hospital bed and the life support machines he was attached to, and he later died in their custody.  After his death, the militants refused to return the body.

In response, the Druze community in Israel united in order to ensure the return Ferro’s body. A massive protest with hundreds of Druze dressed in black and some carrying weapons took place in the city of Dalit Al Carmel, from which Ferro hailed.   They warned that, “If the body isn’t returned, all the Druze will enter Jenin and the residents of the city will bear the consequences.”

In the Channel 14 interview, Elbashan noted that the Israeli public was solidly behind the approach espoused by the Druze community. He was not supportive of the consensus that Israel should learn from the actions of the Druze during this incident.  He was distressed that the media did not highlight the fact that unlicensed militias carrying weapons were planning on carrying out extra-judicial violent action. He worried that ignoring the rule of law in this way could lead to armed tribal warfare.

Elbashan also commented on the recent punishment of an IDF soldier in the Givati Brigade for punching and taunting a left-wing activist of the Breaking the Silence organization in Hebron, in the process of detaining him.  The soldier claimed that the activist assaulted him and obstructed him in the course of carrying out his duty.  While the Israeli police took the activist into custody and is investigating him for the crimes he was accused of, the IDF quickly announced the solider will receive a sentence of 28 days of detention, for behavior that “was wrong and doesn’t befit what is expected from an IDF soldier

In response, Elbashan opened by stating that he is a man of the Left who believes that Israel should not be occupying the West Bank/Judea and Samaria. He condemned the soldier’s punching the activist as wrong. However, he continued, it is “chutzpa” to be up in arms over the actions of this soldier when the government has sent him there to serve and it is inevitable that in the course of the occupation there will be incidents of confrontation and provocation that could lead to violence. Elbashan believes that the Left should be defending this soldier because he is a victim of the government’s policies.

Other topics discussed in the interview included: the attack of a pedestrian at a crosswalk in Holon and the upcoming appointment of Itamar Ben Gvir of the Religious Zionist party to a senior governmental post.

To watch the entire clip, click here: