An IDF training exercise in Judea and Samaria simulated Jewish residents as the enemy.
The exercise by the Judea and Samaria Division on Tuesday morning simulated multiple scenarios including kidnappings of IDF soldiers, massacres in Jewish communities, and major terrorist attacks. In one part near the village of Funduq, the exercise described a scenario where Jewish residents set fire to vehicles and kidnapped an Arab resident following the murder of a Jewish infant. In attendance at this part of the exercise were Central Commander Yehuda Fox, along with the new commander of the division, Lieutenant Colonel Yaki Dolef, Colonel Roi Tzawig, and other senior officers in the division.
The soldiers portraying the Jewish residents wore vests with the inscription "Enemy Combatants.” In the simulation, the Jewish Division of the Shin Bet and the elite Duvdevan unit were deployed to the scene to deal with the Jewish residents who, in the exercise, fled to the nearby settlement of Ramat Gilad.
Many soldiers, who live in the adjacent communities, and who participated in the exercise expressed shock and anger that they were portrayed as the enemy, and Hakol HaYehudi has learned that many officers and soldiers abandoned the exercise in frustration.
Other parts of the exercise included simulations where IDF soldiers were abducted in Gush Etzion and Tulkarem, as well as a mass casualty incident in the Har Hebron region.
Another scenario took place at the Kochav Yaakov gas station, where an explosive was detonated, and multiple cases of anti-tank missile attacks by terrorists in Judea and Samaria were practiced.
After the shocking scenario where Jewish residents were cast as the enemy, the IDF issued a clarification that the local council heads should work to prevent nationalistically motivated criminal acts by Jewish residents.
This comment from the IDF further upset Jewish residents and the leaders of several councils called on the Defense Minister to dismiss whoever developed the scenario. Members of the Karnei Shomron Council issued an official statement calling for the dismissal of General Yehuda Fox, who supervised the entire exercise. Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich issued a similar statement and Minister Itamar Ben Gvir also issued a scathing rebuke.
Ultimately Prime Minister Netanyahu weighed in, stating “This fictitious scenario is disconnected from reality. It was inappropriate and harms the entire population of Jewish residents as many of them are sacrificing their lives defending Israel. I will not accept these attacks on our brothers and sisters in Judea and Samaria.”
The IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi issued an apology stating that the particular scenario should not have been included, but stood behind General Yehuda Fox, stating that Fox works day and night to protect Jewish residents.
General Fox himself also issued an apology, stating, “It was a mistake to simulate the particular exercise where a Palestinian is kidnapped by Israelis. We will increase our supervision of future trainings.”
Despite the apologies, many residents continued to criticize General Fox and called for his dismissal. A mother from the community of Talmon, who has two sons fighting in Gaza, wrote a letter to Defense Minister Gallant emphasizing Fox’s continued harm to the Jewish residents of the region including his failure to address the increase in Arab terror attacks and his focus on issuing administrative orders to Jewish residents.