Several dozen people, headed by MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), held on Tuesday evening a protest in support of Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner at the Kirya government office district in central Tel Aviv.
The IDF decided to suspend Eisner on Sunday night, several hours after anarchists uploaded a video to the Internet in which Eisner is seen hitting the face of an ISM anarchist with his gun magazine. As is usual in such cases, the anarchists' video is edited and does not include any documentation of their provocations vis-à-vis the reservist force that had to deal with them on the Jewish Sabbath. There was no evidence in the video that the anarchist was injured.
Eisner told a confidante after the incident that the leftist he was seen hitting in the video struck him first, causing fractures in his hand. In later pictures, his fingers were bandaged.
MK Ben-Ari said during Tuesday’s protest that the Eisner case sends a message to IDF officers that if they are hurt they should simply run away and not fight back, adding that he fears that senior officers will send junior troops to deal with minor disturbances and thus take the responsibility off their shoulders.
The protesters held up signs which read, “Citation for the deputy brigade commander,” “With terrorists one must use the trigger and not the magazine,” and “Anarchists are an existential threat, who defends the IDF?”
Benzi Gofstein, a member of the Kiryat Arba local council who participated in the demonstration, said, “Eisner must have the backing of all of us and we must maintain a public struggle for a person who wanted to protect Israel.”
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Eisner said he has "no regrets" about striking the activist, saying that doing the job is more important than looking good.
"What's more important, doing the job or looking good for the camera?" Eisner asked rhetorically during an interview with Channel 10.
"We know the history of these anarchists," Eisner said. "They came with sticks and broke my hand, but no one talks about that or films it."
"It's true; some of the pictures look bad," he conceded. "I used my weapon coldly, like a stick. I didn't kill anyone, and didn't put anyone's life at risk."
"My job was to protect my soldiers and open the road, and I did just that," Eisner said. "My sense was that this [the blow] would do it."
Eisner also criticized the senior IDF commanders who publically criticized him while the IDF investigation was still underway.
"But all these stories do not interest our chief of staff [Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz] or the head of my command [GOC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Nitzan Alon]," Eisner said.
A senior military source told Arutz Sheva that while Eisner's remarks were those of a man angry and defending himself, it was going to be difficult for him to continue in the IDF after his remarks.