There’s the route above the Red House (one of the Israeli settlements in Hebron. A combined military base and residential compound for settlers) that leads to the Tomb of the Patriarchs via another road.1 I don’t remember what it’s called. On Saturdays, when they walk from Kiryat Arba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, we’re told "don’t let the Jews pass through there" because it’s an area where cameras (military security cameras scattered throughout the city) don’t see very well, [so we were told] "Don’t let them pass through there." By the way, there was this talk there – say Jews were being violence violent towards me, so what do I do? And even then [they told us] "stop them and the company commander will come and sort it out." The company commander, the deputy battalion commander, someone will sort it out. Then I remember there were a lot of guys (settlers) who – we would just be standing there, telling them not to pass, and they’d pass anyway. You, like, run after him, but I won’t, I won’t push, I won’t pull anyone. Like, it wasn’t part of our regular conduct to hold someone (a settler) by force. Because it’s also, like, a guy who says “Shabbat Shalom (the traditional Sabbath greeting), what's up, all good?" He, like, walks by with his two little kids with, like, yarmulkes, [cute] kids, white clothes. Am I going to grab him by the shirt and stop him?
And then you have to escort them? No. Then they just say something like, "I've lived here for 20 years, 30 years, I know how to walk from there, I don't need the IDF's help."
And what do they (army officials) say to that? Then they tell you off a bit. But, like, they know it's a two-minute walk. So they can, like, tell us off a bit for it, but they realize it's not the end of the world. It does put you in a strange situation with the settlers, who come, like... I don’t get it, it’s clear that we’re there so that you can live there. It’s possible, desirable to argue over whether it’s good or not, but at least show the minimum respect that if we ask something of you then do it.
Were you ever told to be tougher? Yes, yes. Of course, of course. Especially the 50th Battalion, who have a reputation for being a battalion of gays and leftists, like "when the paratroopers were here, when Golani was here, they knew, they knew how to behave and you’re failing." The truth is that it didn’t really interest me.
*The standard route the settlers are expected to take is "Worshipers' Route," which passes through one of the Palestinian neighborhoods in the city and is secured by soldiers.