Barak Joins Criticism of Eisner

Defense Minister Barak slams officer who hit protester, says situation could have been defused differently.

Maayana Miskin,

Ehud Barak
Ehud Barak
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has released his opinion on the incident in which IDF Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner hit a foreign activist during a violent protest. Barak slammed Eisner and rejected his argument that “doing the job” comes before looking good for the camera.

“There is no contradiction between completing the mission and acting in a way that befits the IDF and upholds its values,” Barak said, in a statement released by his PR people.

He slammed those who said Eisner’s actions were necessary. “The absurd statements heard today, suggesting that the officer’s anomalous and severe behavior stemmed from operational need or the principle of completing the mission, are not accepted by the Defense Minister and were never accepted in the IDF,” his PR office stated.

Eisner and soldiers under his command during the incident have testified that the foreign activist and those with him were endangering lives by blocking a road, had physically attacked Eisner, and had ignored repeated warnings to stand down.

Barak’s criticism follows that of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

While Eisner has been roundly criticized by the political and military elite, he has received support from his soldiers, who signed a petition praising him as a “moral and ethical” commander with many years of quality service. The bereaved mother of a soldier whose body he once retrieved has praised him as a hero, and more than 20,000 people have signed a petition expressing support for his actions.