Daily Israel Report

Hero's Family Upset with Rivlin over Bennett Remark

Knesset Speaker criticized Naftali Bennett at memorial for Bennett's comrade, Emanuel Moreno.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/27/2012, 7:05 PM

Speaker Rivlin
Speaker Rivlin
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The family members of slain IDF hero Maj. Emanuel Moreno Hy"d (May G-d avenge his blood, hebrew expression used for martyrs) are unhappy about remarks made by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin Thursday at an event in Moreno's memory. Rivlin criticized Bayit Yehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett's statement that he would be unable to carry out an order to expel Jews from their homes. Bennett and Moreno were friends, and both served in the same elite commando unit, Sayeret Matkal.

"Emanuel Hy"d would not have refused an order, because of his status as an officer in the IDF, but he would have left the military so as not to expel Jews from their homes," said one of Emanuel's four brothers. "That is part of the heritage that Emanuel left behind."

"During the Disengagement from Gush Katif," the brother said, "Emanuel took a leave from the army along with some of his friends from the [military] company, and helped broken-hearted agriculturalists pack up their greenhouses. The matter of the Disengagement affected him deeply and he always said that one day the Nation of Israel would return to Gush Katif."

He added, "Emanuel wrote on one of the boxes holding the belongings of a girl from Gush Katif named Hodaya [thanksgiving] – 'the day of thanksgiving is yet to come.'"

"One of Emanuel's friends was Bayit Yehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett," said the brother. "Today, when we hear him in the media or in a television program we feel as if the words are coming out of Emanuel's throat and reflect what Emanuel thought."

Speaker Rivlin said at the event – a conference for IDF officer cadets at Binyanei Hauma in Jerusalem – that "Leaders need to be careful in what they say and be cautious with their words."

"Every new political leader – especially if youths, soldiers, new recruits and reservists look up to him – must be aware of the interpretations that might be given to what he says," Rivlin warned, in an unmistakable reference to Bennett. "In public statements by political leaders, the gap between one interpretation and another could be the gap between mutual responsibility and civil war."

Rivlin said at another event Wednesday that while Bennett's remarks were wrong, Likud went after Bennett too aggressively over them.

Maj. Moreno's roles in the military were so sensitive that publication of his photo is still forbidden by the Military Censor, six years after he was killed during the Second Lebanon War.