Reader Post: Leave No Man Behind


87406The policy of the IDF is always to leave no man behind.  Israel has gone to extraordinary lengths to fulfill this promise. A special unit in the IDF known as Eitan exists for this purpose alone – to make sure no soldier is ever abandoned in the field, dead or alive.

This policy is a national promise.

This policy also ensures that our soldiers will fight better knowing that the army has their backs. Every Israeli serving in the army has to know that if he or she is sent into a combat situation, that the commanders going straight up to the Prime Minister will have his back.

Our soldiers deserve nothing less.

And yet….

Last Thursday, Israel’s Prime Minister and Defense Minister abandoned one of our own.

Before any investigation, before all the evidence was brought to light, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon threw one of our soldiers to the wolves.

The soldier with the Kfir Brigade stationed in Hebron, after shooting an Arab terrorist in the head who was supposedly neutralized, was first brought to a detention hearing before the Jaffa Military Court on Friday where it was announced he would be subject to a murder investigation. An Arab cameraman from B’tselem, a notorious left-wing anti-Israel organization, publicized a video without audio in an attempt to incriminate this soldier with the extra judicial murder of a downed terrorist. Had the sound not been turned off, one would hear the shouts of warning that the terrorist is still moving, which meant he was not 100% neutralized, and where one can clearly hear the suspicions that the terrorist may be outfitted with an explosive belt under his zipped up winter jacket (on a day where it was 88 degrees Fahrenheit). A video, with audio, attesting to the tense situation in addition to eye-witness accounts are presently part of the evidence that is being investigated.

And investigated it should, for the IDF is not only a moral army that conducts itself according to a strict code of rules, but as in every army there are protocols that soldiers must follow for the safety of everyone involved.

However, being that Israel is a democracy, “the only democracy in the Middle East,” as Prime Minister Netanyahu often boasts ad nauseum, one would think that he and Defense Minister Ya’alon would stand by our soldier, wait until the investigation is completed before condemning him, and not automatically go into apologetic mode, beating their breasts in remorse, condemning the behavior (on the part of the soldier) as not acceptable. “What happened in Hebron does not represent the values of the IDF. The IDF expects its soldiers to act cool-headedly and in accordance with the standing orders regarding opening fire.”

The soldier defended his actions, saying he saw a clear and present danger with the movement of the terrorist on the ground coupled with the fear of him detonating an explosive belt.

Netanyahu and Ya’alon indeed left him to rot to the satisfaction of the over-zealous squealing of leftists who unfortunately dwell among us in Israel.

The spineless and immoral behavior of our leaders is evident. The ramifications are far-reaching.

Why would any soldier want to serve in an army knowing that their supreme commanders will not have his or her back? Why should parents permit their sons or daughters to serve in such an army? In addition to the fear of horrible injuries, death or abduction we now have to fear our own government’s betrayal of our sons and daughters who serve in battle?

Of course the IDF should operate according to a moral code. Of course our soldiers must adhere to the rules and regulations and follow protocol. No one denies that. And if there is a question of wrong doing, of course it should be investigated by the military. Judgment however, must not be influenced by political considerations and foreign pressure. And until the investigation is final it is incumbent upon our leaders to stand by this soldier.

But, you Prime Minister Netanyahu and you, Defense Minister Ya’alon ignored the due process and abandoned our son.

You both are guilty of leaving a man behind, of throwing him to the wolves.

Such behavior is unbefitting of commanders. How you served in the past is clearly buried deeply in the past. Your collective former military bravado and prowess is now but dust in the wind.

You did not respect protocol as you did not respect the investigative process. Should the final results of the investigation find the soldier guilty of not adhering to protocol, or find that there was malicious intent, that will not render the two of you innocent for turning your back on one of your soldiers before the investigative process was underway.

In your knee jerk reaction to appease all our detractors in and outside our country, especially in time of war, you have brought dishonor to our country, to our people and to our army.

Furthermore, are you no longer cognizant of the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by soldiers in military operations? Has the realities of war escaped your rational, so much so, that you were unwilling to hear the full story before your rush to condemn one of your own?

In the words of Minister of Education Naftali Bennet, “Has anyone heard the soldier? The entire state leadership quickly piled onto the soldier. One Knesset member even said the soldier was ‘restrained.’ Were you there? Did you understand his thinking? The considerations? Perhaps there was a fear that he was rigged with explosives? That he’d explode onto the soldiers and civilians? Did you ask the soldier before condemning him? Were the terrorist rigged to explode, the soldier would have been seen as a national hero; could any of you, in his shoes, have known what the situation was really like?”

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon, what you both did to one of our soldiers is equivalent to leaving a wounded soldier behind on the battleground.

With you both at the helm every parent and every soldier now fears the same betrayal.

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