At 1AM of October 11, 2013, Colonel Sariya "Yaya" Ofer heard a noise outside his house. He walked out to check out what was it, his wife rushing behind him. Once outside he was confronted by two Palestinian men, who killed him with axes and iron bars. In an unacceptable decision,+ his wife abandoned him, crawling for two hours until she reached the nearest road.
While this article was being written a few hours after the event, the settlement Brosh HaBik'aa ("Pine of the Valley") had been declared a closed military area. Official statements included two explanations. One claim was that it was a "Paha"++event which forms part of the Third Intifada, mockingly nicknamed the "Intifada-Light;" the second was that it was a settlement of accounts among criminals. The latter probbaly is a cover-up attempt, an attempt to hide the third option, the possibility that it was a nationalistic settlement of accounts among settlers is real.
Neither Settlement nor Valley
Pine of the Valley is not exactly a settlement. It is not even in a valley. Located in the northern West Bank slopes toward the Jordan River, it was the site of a Jordanian military officers base which was conquered in the 1967 War. For a while, it became a Nahal* military base named Brosh, pine. However, it didn't become a civilian settlement and was abandoned.
In 2006, the State of Israel asked from Colonel Ofer to establish a settlement giving Israel territorial control of the area, which is just above the strategic Jordan Valley. He created the Brosh HaBik'aa ("Pine of the Valley") Resort, fully owned by him. The nearest settlement is Shadmot Mehola.
Amid intense violence, the Third Intifada was declared on Dec 15, 2012 (seeThird Intifada Begins. The hardcore organizers were smashed by the IDF, but this is turning out to have been an error. Instead, unorganized protests and violence are emerging randomly in a pattern that makes for the IDF impossible to suppress it. Thus, it is becoming known as the Intifada Light.
Since September 20, four Israelis were killed in the West Bank. On that day, Sergeant Tomer Hazan was killed in Samaria, two days later, First Sergeant Gal Kobi died near the Cave of the Patriarchs.** The hit of Noam Glick in Psagot on October 5, is suspected as having been committed by a Palestinian, and today, Colonel Ofer was killed. This is a substantial increase in the West Bank violence. The Intifada Light is slowly awakening.
Colonel Ofer was a reservist officer at the age of 61; this is quite unusual for an officer of such a rank (only major generals remain reservists for life). Moreover, he was running a slightly disguised military stronghold. His odd path within the army may have led to his violent death. He had enemies on both sides.
He was the nephew of Sammy and Yuli Ofer,$ meaning that he was directly related to one of the richest families in the country. Hence, he had no problem to raise money for the resort. His father was Tel Aviv Police Commander David Ofer, and his brother Yitzhak was one of the pilots killed during the 1973 War.
He commanded two commando units that were active in the West Bank, and was commander of Gaza; these was enough to transform him into recognizable and undesirable in the West Bank.
However, he is by far more famous for having been the IDF commander that in 1982 evacuated the Yamit settlement in Sinai.
Law of the Pursuer
The image below is striking. It shows an official encounter between Tzahi HaNegbi and Sariya Ofer in 2002, in commemoration of the twenty years of the dismantlement of Yamit. Sariya had commanded the evacuation while HaNegbi had chained himself to one of the roofs. The evacuation ended with no people hurt.
There is no way of referring to HaNegbi with kind words. He is the son of the Lehi's Operation Officer; his mother was the leader of HaThiya party. Despite having spent much of his political career in Netanyahu's Likud party, he belongs to the "Warring Family," the most extremist Jewish right.
He achieved his position by openly threatening a young Netanyahu to disclose a black box,$$ linking the latter with the American Government. Netanyahu surrendered and HaNegbi kept a prominent place in Israeli politics since then.
Following the killing, the image of HaNegbi and Ofer reappeared. The link between the two was refreshed, but the key issue was not mentioned. In Hebrew culture, there is a phrase for such a situation "there are things in the back" it says, meaning that certain issues are kept hidden. In this case, the reference to the "Law of the Pursuer," was obvious.
"Din rodef," law of the pursuer, is a religious law, parallel to a Muslim Fatwa, in which rabbis allowed the killing of another Jew to prevent him from handing Jewish land over to non-Jews. Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon were the target of a Pulsa DiNura curse as a result of their willing to compromise with Palestine, and both were removed from office violently (See Shin Beth: Netanyahu in the Cross Hairs).
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, probably the most important rabbi in the last decades issued a religious decree allowing to give land in order to save a life. This allowed to issue a "din rodef" decree against him. He died recently in a suspicious situation, seeWho Killed Rabbi Ovadia Yosef?
Having commanded the evacuation of Sinai's most emblematic Jewish settlement, Colonel Ofer was an obvious target of a din rodef ruling and may have paid the price today. Hiring killers is loose change for Zion.
+ The difference in a confrontation of 1 against 2 and 2 against 2 is huge. Even if untrained, the woman could have changed the battle's outcome. Who was punished harder? Now she will live with the shame until her last day.
++ "Paha" is the Hebrew acronym for "Hostile Terrorist Activity." Used mainly by the IDF, it is often mispronounced "faha," an impossible word (acronyms are often shaped as words in Hebrew). This is highly symbolyc; after all many times in history, Israel had committed worse crimes than those it calls "terror."
* Nahal is the Hebrew acronym of Noar Halutzi Lohem (Fighting Pioneer Youth). It refers to an IDF unit that combines military service and establishment of new agricultural settlements and various social projects. Their military band is considered the best in the army, see From Mao Zedong to Beehive: Israeli Nihilism.
** The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron is where Abraham (see Genesis 23:1-20) bought a burial place for his wife Sarah from the sons of Heth. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah, who are called the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people, are believed to be buried there. The current structure atop the burial cave, is much more recent, from Herodian times. Rachel, the only matriarch missing, is buried in Bethlehem, where she died in childbirth.
$$ When Netanyahu returned to Israel in the 1980s, he became a shining star in the Likud party. Yedihot Aharonot (the largest Hebrew newspaper) claimed in large headlines that he was a CIA agent, who had been trained during his years in the US. Was he being trained by the CIA to become an Israeli leader? The claim of the newspaper was well based. Tzahi Hanegbi said to the newspaper that he had a "black box" of data proving Netanyahu’s anomalous affiliations. Being Hanegbi another member of the Mishpaha Lohemet and Likud member, and thus beyond the reach of the Mossad assassination teams, he became a minister in Netanyahu's government, giving credibility to the unproven claims. The black box is still in the dark.