US to Impose Sanction on Religious IDF Unit

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The White House is expected to announce new sanctions on a religious Israel Defense Force (IDF) brigade for “human rights violations” in Judea and Samaria, according to a report by Axios.

The report states that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will announce unprecedented sanctions this week on the Netzah Yehuda battalion, a unit formed for male ultra-orthodox soldiers. The sanctions will ban the battalion and its members from receiving any kind of US military assistance or training, in compliance with a 1997 Leahy law that forbids US aid from being given to foreign military or police units suspected of human rights violations.

Netzah Yehuda has been at the center of several controversies connected to right-wing extremism and violence against Arabs. One reported incident was the 2022 death of a Palestinian man who was allegedly beaten and left out in the cold to die. In 2023, the brigade was relocated from Judea and Samaria to the Golan Heights, with the IDF denying at the time that the move was connected to the controversy.

Israeli officials swiftly condemned the reported sanctions.

“The IDF must not be sanctioned! I’ve been working in recent weeks against the sanctioning of Israeli citizens, including in my conversations with the American administration. At a time when our soldiers are fighting terrorist monsters, the intention to issue sanctions against a unit in the IDF is the height of absurdity and a moral low,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on X.

War Cabinet Minister Benny Gantz echoed the same sentiment on X, saying, “We have great respect for our American friends, but imposing sanctions on the unit is a dangerous precedent and sends the wrong message to our shared enemies at a time of war.”

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