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.

4 thoughts on “Reader Post: Leave No Man Behind”

  1. The entrenched Israeli establishment is trying to impose the same warped universalist foreign morality that is currently destroying the West onto Israel, even daring to preach to us by absurdly claiming said universalist foreign morality are true Jewish values when in reality it is an anathema to both Jewish values and common sense.

  2. The Israeli army is an army of conscripts. This literally means that they get “all types”, from all walks of life. The fact that they are so cohesive, highly skilled, competent and “a moral army” is nothing short of miraculous. I believe that the policy of “no soldier gets left behind”, of the army, the government and the people, having their back, is what motivates these young men to be their best, instead of “serving out their time”. Conversely, the only reason Israelis can get on with their lives and do normal things like go to a supermarket, is because they understand the risk to their lives just by doing something normal, but they also put their faith in soldiers to protect them. The soldier shot at a terrorist who, he thought, posed a threat. He didn’t execute him, because he didn’t hunt him down, while having firearms at his disposal. Nor did he empty his round into the attacker (as often happens in similar situations in Australia, U.S., all over the world.) If I took a cardboard cutout of a knife with foil covering the blade, and walked with it in my hand at policemen or a group of soldiers in Australia, the questions would be asked after several rounds were emptied. I’m not saying this is a good thing, but this would be the reality. The soldier shot an attacker, who he thought posed a danger. Their unit had been attacked by two assailants. The first thing they process is that they are attacked, it’s not immediately obvious whether it’s with knives, guns, explosives, and it takes a few moments to process how many assailants there are. The soldier has a responsibility to protect himself and his fellow soldiers. The first circle of the responsibility to “not leave a single soldier behind” is the soldiers themselves. The attacker had already stabbed 2 soldiers, he demonstrated that he posed a risk. Even if the soldier made a wrong snap judgement, the fact that he was standing while two of his unit’s soldiers were down, stabbed, means that he could have interpreted any movement as a risk to further attack.
    Ultimately, it must be remembered that for the terrorists it’s a win-win. They woke up and started the day with intent to kill as many as possible, and the expectation that they would be killed. Whichever way their chips fell, they would get to inflict destruction on Israelis. The soldiers did not start their day with the plan of killing that day.

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