The NYTimes Platform for Anti-Netanyahu Opponents

Yisrael Medad,

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צילום: ערוץ 7
Yisrael Medad
I am a resident of Shiloh, with my wife and children, and now grandchildren, since 1981, having come on Aliyah in 1970. I have served in a volunteer capacity as a Yesha Council spokesperson, twice a member of Amana's secretariat, Benjamin Regional Council plenum member and mayor of Shiloh. I was a parliamentary aide for Geula Cohen and two other MKs, an advisor to a Minister, vice-chairman and executive director of Israel's Media Watch and was Information and Content Resource coordinator for the Begin Heritage Center. I am now Deputy Editor of the critical edition in anthology of Jabotinsky's writing in English.

Ronen Bergman of Yedioth Ahronot, not a paper favorably disposed to Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, was provided a platform of op-ed space to comment on recent political and military developments in Israel.  In his May 21 piece, entitled "Israel's Army Goes to War with Its Politicians", a theme most Americans would presume to be a non-democratic step, Bergman justifies the situation by painting Netanyahu and friends as basically the facsists in the matter.

I am not going to fisk the entire article and for most of you who read my blogs, you can easily figure out most of it yourselves.  Let me zero in on one example.

Here's what Bergman write:

IN most countries, the political class supervises the defense establishment and restrains its leaders from violating human rights or pursuing dangerous, aggressive policies. In Israel, the opposite is happening. Here, politicians blatantly trample the state’s values and laws and seek belligerent solutions, while the chiefs of the Israel Defense Forces and the heads of the intelligence agencies try to calm and restrain them.

None of this happened.

In fact, the opposite.  It was the army brass, headed by the Minister of Defense, who were trampling values and laws and stirring up passions.

Minister Ya'alon and Commander in Chief Gadi Eizenkot illegally prejudged any in-house military investigation and trial in their public declarations. Deputy IDF Commander Yair Golan factually erred in the content of his speech and blatantly lied when he explained he didn't say what he most certainly did say.

I am not even going to point out that, for the most part, Ya'alon has not been that successful in protecting Israel's security - and I do not receive Netanyahu of his shared responsibility for this.  But the subject is does the IDF have to interfere in the running of the civilian affairs of the country.

Here is Bergman again:

This latest round of this conflict began on March 24: Elor Azariah, a sergeant in the I.D.F., shot and killed a Palestinian assailant...right-wing politicians backed Sergeant Azariah. “I.D.F. soldiers, our children, stand before murderous attacks by terrorists who come to kill them,” the prime minister said. “They have to make decisions in real time.” Mr. Lieberman, then still the leader of a small far-right oppo‎sition party, turned up in military court to support the soldier. Mr. Netanyahu also called the soldier’s father to offer support.

That emphasized sentence is misleading.

Netanyahu made it clear to the parents in his call that the judicial process had to go through.  In his first reaction, he said:

“The IDF is a moral army that does not execute people...I trust the IDF will conduct a thorough, responsible and fair investigation, as it does always.”

In that phone call a few days later, he said:

The soldiers are forced to make decisions in the field, in real time, under stress and conditions of uncertainty. This is not a simple reality and I’m sure that the investigation is taking the entirety of these circumstances into account. I am convinced that the investigation will be professional and fair towards your son. I trust the IDF, the Chief of Staff and the investigation 100% and I think that you too should trust the commanders and the investigation. 

Perhaps Netanyahu realized that some of the Army brass was willing to sacrifice one soldier, who was caught up in an irregular situation, in order to clear their name for future war crimes investigations would would put themselves, the senior commanders, on trial. Elior Azariah may not have acted exactly as he should, one could argue, but the IDF higher-ups realized it were their careers that could not be targeted.

That is why, perhaps, Bogi Ya'alon insisted on defining him as guilty before any investigation.

Getting back to Bergman. He writes:

What would the army and intelligence chiefs do if the new minister issued instructions not to prosecute people who committed crimes like Elor Azariah’s in Hebron? Or if Mr. Lieberman demands, as he has done in the past, that Israel assassinate Hamas leaders 

Oh, please. Israel hasn't done this before? In Norway. in Paris? Under Golda Meir and Shimon Peres?  Bergman is hoping we can't remember and worse, he is playing to old Palmah game: 'sure we kill Arabs even worse than the Irgun does but we're more moral and our weapons are purer'.

Yes, there is a danger and its from not only some army people but the media that covers for them.