The leader of Israel Defense Forces Central Command, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, said he is stunned by the level of hatred directed at the military by Jewish youths who rioted in Samaria, Tuesday.
Approximately 50 youths slashed and burned tires, threw stones and Molotov cocktails, and dumped nails on the road near the Ephraim Brigade army headquarters in northern Israel.
The rioters were apparently upset by rumors that the army was going to evacuate a Jewish outpost in Samaria.
Mizrachi expressed his dismay over the attack.
"I saw people--rioters--and was shocked by what I saw. I mean, this kind of hatred by Jews toward Israeli soldiers I have not seen in all my years," he said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the violence, ordering security forces to "act aggressively against those harming Israeli soldiers and their commanders."
Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the perpetrators will be arrested.
"We must arrest these people, conduct an investigation and bring them to the courts," he said.
Ya'alon added that the incident was "rooted in the disengagement" of settlers from their property in the West Bank.
He said that soldiers did not fire on the rioters because they were "not expecting that Jews would attack them."
Leaders of the Jewish communities in the area also condemned the youth riots. One leader, Dani Dayan, said those responsible "must turn themselves in, and if not, they must be arrested and tried."
About 300,000 Jews live in communities in Judea and Samaria among more than two million Palestinians.
Sources: AP, The Jerusalem Post, IsraelNationalNews