Officer Deposed for Hitting Leftist Served in Gaza

Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, whose career was cut short after he struck a Danish anarchist, volunteered in a tank.

Ido Ben Porat, Gil Ronen,

Eisner hits anarchist
Eisner hits anarchist

Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, whose career was cut short by a leftist campaign after he hit a Danish far-left activist, volunteered in a tank as a simple soldier, during Operation Protective Edge.

Maariv Weekend quoted Armored Corps officers who said that Eisner showed up in one of the staging grounds, spoke to young fighters and identified a severe problem with their morale. In response, he took off his rank insignia, got into a tank and helped the infantry troops by clearing roads for their advance.

"It was not a simple situation,” explained one of the officers. “The soldiers had already been inside Gaza, they had seen fighting and had undergone difficult experiences. They needed someone to scoop them up, mentally. And then Eisner showed up. He turned to the soldiers and said – 'I'm going into Gaza, who is coming with me?' The combat soldiers joined the tank and Eisner functioned inside it as a regular soldier.”

Eisner was Deputy Commander of the IDF's Jordan Valley Brigade in April 2012 when he was filmed hitting an anarchist with his gun, as soldiers attempted to keep a group of Palestinian Authority residents and foreign anarchists from blocking the main road that connects the Jericho area to northern Israel. Prior to the blow dealt by Eisner, the anarchists had broken his finger; however, that part of the fight was not included in the video footage that was released.

The video showing him striking the activist was played over and over in an endless, mind-numbing loop on Israel's main news channels, creating a psychologically magnifying effect that eventually led to his punishment. The media campaign against Eisner prompted one leading pundit to declare: "We've gone mad."

Eisner has declared that he does not regret hitting the anarchist. “My job was to protect my soldiers and open the road, and I did just that,” he declared after the incident.

More footage was later released showing Eisner striking other protesters during the same incident. New footage also appeared to disprove anarchists' claims of injury at Eisner's hands.

A survey conducted after the incident was brought to light found that a majority of Israelis believe Eisner’s dismissal was not justified.

In September of 2013, it was reported that Eisner would be required to perform two months of community service in the IDF, after being convicted of unauthorized action and of conduct unbecoming an officer.

He has agreed to leave IDF service, despite having planned a longer career. His early resignation will not be considered an involuntary discharge.

He will not be eligible for promotion within the ranks of the IDF.