According to an unsourced report in Haaretz, a left-wing anti-religious news outlet, the US State Department has asked its embassy in Israel to assess the Netzach Yehuda Battalion, a fighting unit composed of Haredi men.
“You have to remember that the soldiers in Netzah Yehuda are not part of the Haredi mainstream.
They tend to be yeshiva dropouts and youth at risk who come from the fringes of ultra-Orthodox society.
The army provides them with a second chance”https://t.co/xTgn2oCG2T
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) February 16, 2022
The Haaretz report stated that embassy staff is interviewing Israelis and Palestinians about the unit. The US Embassy is also going to rely on media reports and testimony by “humanitarian groups,” many of which are anti-Israel and do not serve a humanitarian purpose.
The US embassy declined to comment on the Haaretz report.
Earlier this year, an elderly Palestinian American was found dead after being arrested by soldiers from the Netzach Yehuda Battalion. The 78-year-old man suffered a heart attack after being bound, gagged, and abandoned in a half-constructed building. Several Netzah Yehuda officers were removed from their positions in the wake of the incident. An investigation was recently concluded, and military prosecutors have yet to decide if further action will be taken.
In August, after four members of Netzah Yehuda were filmed beating a detained Palestinian, Israel’s Diaspora Minister Nachman Shay called for the unit to be shut down.
Soldiers from the unit were also accused of harassing left-wing protesters in September 2020
Founded in 1999, the 97th Netzah Yehuda Battalion, previously known as Nahal Haredi, is a battalion in the counterterrorism-focused Kfir Brigade. Netzah Yehuda’s primary area of operations is the city of Ramallah and the Jenin area. Training in the battalion is that of IDF infantry: five months of basic training, followed by an additional six months of advanced training. The battalion runs on a voluntary basis and does not draft soldiers. Today, at any given time, the battalion holds close to 1,000 soldiers, including two entire companies in training, one company commencing active service, and two operating units.
The battalion’s motto is “V’haya Machanecha Kadosh,” “And Your [military] camp shall be holy”, (Devarim 23:15)
The State Department’s investigating Orthodox Jewish Israeli soldiers is difficult to understand as the US government helped found, fund, train, and equip the white supremacist Azov Special Operations Detachment. It should be noted that the US has been the only nation to join Ukraine in voting against a UN resolution titled “Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.” The State Department justified this by saying the resolution was “Russian disinformation.”
It should also be noted that the US State Department violated the Taylor Force Act by resuming aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), knowing that the PA was still funding its infamous ‘pay for slay’ programs.
The Taylor Force Act is an Act of Congress to stop American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA ceases paying stipends through the Palestinian Authority Martyr’s Fund to individuals who commit acts of terrorism and to the families of deceased terrorists. Signed into law by President Trump in 2018 led to the US cutting more than $200 million in direct aid to the PA. Also, in August 2018, the United States stopped supporting UNRWA, representing an aid cut of $300 million. It is estimated that the PA spent at least $151 million in 2019 on its “Pay to Slay” program and at least $155 million in 2020.
Last year, the State Department admitted that some funding given to Lebanon and the Palestinians could be used for terrorism.