Former MK Dr. Michael Ben-Ari criticized on Thursday the sentence that was handed down to Col. Shalom Eisner, the IDF officer who was filmed hitting a pro-Arab Danish anarchist with his weapon in 2012.
Eisner was convicted of unauthorized action and of conduct unbecoming an officer and, as part of a plea bargain, was sentenced to two months of community service.
Eisner was filmed striking the anarchist during a confrontation with pro-Arab activists. In his role as deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade he was attempting to clear Palestinian Authority (PA) Arabs and foreign anarchists from a road they were blocking.
Prior to the blow, the anarchists had broken Eisner's fingers; however, that part of the altercation was not included in the released footage.
Responding to Eisner’s sentence, Ben-Ari said, “The IDF betrayed Shalom Eisner. The military prosecutor who sits in his office filed charges against an officer who performed his duty and did not run away. The IDF dismissed an officer who dedicated his best years to protecting the State and, on top of it all, gave him a humiliating punishment of community service.”
Ben-Ari, who sent Eisner a letter of support after the incident, also criticized the army for ending Eisner’s military career.
"From now on every officer who wants a promotion will simply flee the scene and let the enemy go wild and conquer our country. As far as I’m concerned, Lieutenant Colonel Eisner is a hero. He is a dedicated soldier who was betrayed,” declared Ben-Ari.
Polls conducted for the Makor Rishon newspaper after the confrontation took place in 2012 found 51% of Israelis felt the decision to dismiss Eisner from his command post was unjustified, with only 37% saying it was justified. Further, 78% of national-religious and 79% of Hareidi-religious were against the decision.
It has been noted that other countries, such as the anarchist's native Denmark, witness extreme police violence even against peaceful demonstrators, to degrees far surpassing that employed by Eisner.