IDF lifts seizure of radical West Bank yeshiva
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IDF lifts seizure of radical West Bank yeshiva

Border Police had taken control of Od Yosef Chai seminary since last year after its students' alleged involvement in 'price tag' attacks

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of a masked Jewish extremist swinging a slingshot outside the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar in 2013. (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of a masked Jewish extremist swinging a slingshot outside the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar in 2013. (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)

The IDF and Border Police withdrew this week from the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva in the West Bank outpost of Yitzhar after holding the building for the past year.

A Border Police detachment was stationed in the building since last April after a string of anti-Arab incidents of vandalism in the surrounding Palestinian villages and attacks against Israeli security personnel by local settlers and yeshiva students.

In June, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon extended what was intended to be a short-term seizure of the radical seminary after noting that the military’s presence in the building dramatically reduced the spate of attacks.

Intended to exact a price for Israeli government policies seen as detrimental to the settlement enterprise, “price tag” attacks — designated hate crimes by Israeli authorities — target Palestinian and Israeli Arab property, but have also included attacks on other non-Jews, as well as left-wing Israelis and the security forces.

While the attacks have long been a problem in the West Bank, attacks by Jewish extremists targeting Israeli citizens and mosques and churches within Israel have intensified in recent years.

In February, police confiscated knives, saws, flammable liquids, tear gas canisters, black face masks and other paraphernalia from a trailer in Yitzhar they said were meant to be used against Palestinians and security forces.

Yitzhar is a stronghold of Jewish extremists in the northern West Bank. Its seminary is led by Yitzchak Ginsburg, an American-born rabbi known for authoring a book condoning the killing of non-Jews.

AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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