ToI podcast

What Matters Now to Haviv Rettig Gur: Is it wise for US to blacklist IDF unit?

ToI’s senior analyst discusses the genesis of Netzah Yehuda, an IDF ‘social work project’ for disenfranchised religious men that is accused of human rights abuses in the West Bank

Deputy Editor Amanda Borschel-Dan is the host of The Times of Israel's Daily Briefing and What Matters Now podcasts and heads up The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology coverage.

Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploring one key issue currently shaping Israel and the Jewish World, hosted by deputy editor Amanda Borschel-Dan.

This week, we speak with The Times of Israel’s senior analyst Haviv Rettig Gur about the controversial Netzah Yehudah battalion that is on the docket for blacklisting by the United States under the 1997 Leahy Law.

In August 2022, Israeli troops from the religious Netzah Yehuda battalion were filmed beating two Palestinian detainees in the West Bank in a video posted to the TikTok video-sharing site. Three soldiers were seen repeatedly kicking two Palestinian men near Ramallah as a fourth soldier stands nearby. They were suspended and investigated.

This well-publicized beating came months after the death of Omar As’ad, a 78-year-old Palestinian-American who died after being detained, handcuffed, blindfolded, and later abandoned in near-freezing conditions by soldiers of the battalion.

As Washington is increasingly clamping down on extremist Jewish settler violence in the West Bank, the State Department probed Netzah Yehuda and several of the other units in the Israeli security forces for well over a year due to alleged human rights violations.

While the State Department looks into thousands of allegations of Leahy Law violations each year, it created a special panel known as the Israel Leahy Vetting Forum that exclusively vets allegations against the IDF and Israel Police due to the political sensitivity of the issue.

So this week in which an IDF unit may be defunded by the United States, we ask Haviv Rettig Gur, what matters now?

With contributions from Jacob Magid. 

What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

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