The family of Rabbi Dan Mertzbach z”l, who was mistakenly shot to death by IDF soldiers 18 months ago, reacted on Sunday night to a video which shows the fatal shooting and which aired on Channel 2 News.
The tragic event took place in the early morning hours of November 11, 2011. IDF soldiers in the south Hevron area were placed on alert and told to watch out for a Skoda-type car and stop it.
The video shows the soldiers setting up a roadblock, but the Skoda can be seen passing them, apparently without being noticed. Fifteen seconds later, Rabbi Mertzbach's car appears.
The IDF investigation found that the soldiers tried to get Rabbi Mertzbach to stop his car by waving their arms and flashing a flashlight, but when he failed to do so they opened fire. A soldier can be seen firing at the car.
The soldier fired eight bullets, which killed the rabbi. The car veered into the guard rail at the right side of the road and then kept going for about 100 meters before stopping.
The Military Prosecution decided not to try the soldier who fired at the car, despite the fact that an investigation found that the road block was set up in a faulty way that made it difficult for oncoming cars to see it in time. The rabbi passed that area every morning at the same time and was known to the soldiers usually manning it.
In response, Rabbi Mertzbach’s family said, “Eighteen months ago, our beloved father, Rabbi Dan Mertzbach of blessed memory, was killed by an IDF soldier who acted negligently.
“In addition to the pain of the loss, we suffered from vicious rumors as though our father drove wildly, broke a barrier, had no lights on, etc.
“We, the family members, remained silent throughout this time period.
“We remained silent because of the pain, and because we expected that justice will be done.
“To our amazement no one was punished.
“In addition, our silence was a result of our concerns that we will affect the motivation of soldiers to protect lives and open fire when needed.
“But now we feel, in the wake of the difficult situation in Judea and Samaria, with rules of engagement that prevent us and soldiers from protecting our lives, that the lives of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria are worthless in the eyes of various elements.
“As well, many civilians and soldiers are in a tough legal battle after opening fire in order to protect lives.
“Today we are witnessing the new intifada raging in the streets of Judea and Samaria and the irresponsibility and helplessness of IDF soldiers, whose hands are tied.
“We call on the army to stand tall and formulate clear instructions so that soldiers are not afraid to protect themselves and the lives of Jews.
“Jewish blood will not be ignored!”