‘A Moral Low’: Netanyahu Slams Biden Decision to Sanction Religious IDF Unit

Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the Biden administration’s reported decision Saturday to slap sanctions on a unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for alleged human rights abuses against Palestinians in the past.

The sanctions, first reported by Axios reporter Barak Ravid, would apply to the Netzach Yehudah (“Judea Forever”) unit, which enlists ultra-Orthodox soldiers and has been moved from the West Bank to the Golan Heights.

The sanctions would be the first ever applied to an IDF unit, and come at a critical time in Israel’s war against terror, when it faces attack from Iran and all of its proxies, including the ongoing fight against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Politicians from across the political spectrum — including Netanyahu’s chief political rival, Benny Gantz — slammed the U.S. decision, pointing out that Israel has its own judicial system for dealing with complaints against soldiers.

Netanyahu first posted his gratitude to the U.S. Congress for passing $17 billion in military aid to Israel, then posted — in Hebrew — his outrage at the Biden administration for sanctioning an IDF unit in the middle of the war.

“At an hour when our soldiers are fighting the monsters of terror, the intention to impose a sanction on a unit in the IDF is the height of absurdity and a moral low,” Netanyahu said.

Gantz agreed in his own post on social media:

Even opposition leader Yair Lapid called the sanctions a “mistake,” though he blamed Netanyahu for making the Israeli government so unpopular with the American administration that it sought to sanction IDF soldiers.

It is unclear what prompted the U.S. to sanction the unit, atop other controversial sanctions against Israeli citizens who have not been accused or convicted of any crime.

In Israel, it is widely presumed that Biden is trying to separate himself from Israel to pacify Muslim- and Arab-American voters in Michigan, for fear of losing his reelection bid.

In addition, the Biden administration faces rebellions from left-wing staffers who are obsessed with their hatred of Israel and are constantly pushing the administration to oppose it. The Jewish Insider recently reported on “listening sessions” within the State Department in which staffers who have nothing to do with Israel or the Middle East are allowed to berate their superiors about U.S. support for Israel, with little or no pushback from senior officials.

UpdateIsrael’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, spoke to U.S. officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew, and issued a statement, including the following:

Any attempt to criticize an entire unit casts a heavy shadow on the actions of the IDF, which operates to protect the citizens of Israel. Damage to one battalion, affects the entire defense establishment – this is not the right path for partners and friends.

Our friends and our enemies are closely watching the ties between Israel and the United States, now more than ever. I call on the U.S. Administration to withdraw its intention to impose sanctions on the Netzach Yehuda battalion.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, “The Zionist Conspiracy (and how to join it),” now available on Audible. He is also the author of the e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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