Iris Haim, mother of Yotam Haim z"l
Iris Haim, mother of Yotam Haim z"lArutz Sheva

Iris Haim, the mother of the late Yotam who was kidnapped to Gaza and accidentally shot by IDF fire, shared a letter she sent to Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi on her Facebook account.

She complains about the dismissal of two officers, following the incident in which seven World Central Kitchen workers were killed in Gaza and is concerned about the message this decision sends to the world.

"I am writing to you after hearing about your decision to dismiss two IDF officers, because of an apparent wrong decision they took. I am not trying to challenge your professional decision and I am sure that you have examined the case very carefully, but I would like to let you know how this decision makes me feel as Yotam's mother," she started her letter.

She reminded the Chief of Staff that "On December 15, 2023, my son Yotam Haim, along with two of his fellow hostages, was accidentally shot and killed due to a mistake by the army, a terrible mistake that hurt the morale of the entire Israeli society and the army, and our family first and foremost. The Haim family called out to give the soldiers the benefit of the doubt. Not only did we not blame the soldiers, nor the direct commander or anyone in the senior ranks, we also sent a message to strengthen our forces that the fighting must continue, because that is our goal. That's the only way we can win. We did not seek to oust anyone with the understanding that we are in a war and bilateral firing is, sadly, part of this situation. Even today, that's not what I'm asking for."

According to Iris, "Back then and even now, there was no call from the IDF for the impeachment of any soldier who fired those shots at Yotam, Alon Shamriz and Samer Talalka, and again I emphasize, this is not what I am asking for. I am not calling for impeachment."

She wondered why when it comes to foreign nationals, the situation has changed. "Here, foreign citizens have been accidentally killed by IDF forces and the world goes into a frenzy. One of those protesting against the IDF is the Prime Minister of Poland. Yotam, my son, also has Polish citizenship. It is interesting to note that the Polish citizen named Yotam Haim did not really interest the Prime Minister of Poland. We never heard a word from him that he is sharing in our grief, sending condolences, for a Polish citizen who was kidnapped and murdered. He never called upon you to denounce the killing, right? Is the blood of my son any less important than the blood of citizens of a foreign country? To me, this is what is implied by your decision."

Haim finds it difficult to understand the message that the Chief of Staff is sending with his decision. "We, the family of a kidnapped citizen, support our soldiers. We support our army and the officers, despite our terrible pain, because we have a responsibility, because we believe that our soldiers are doing everything they can to protect us. We also believe that terrible things happen during a war. And what do you believe? Do you support your officers, support your soldiers?"

"From my perspective, I see this as a message: before you shoot, think and think again, because you might hit a foreign citizen. It is okay to kill our citizens, even our soldiers. How can we continue living here with such a message? How do you think I feel right now? Me and my whole family? I want go on believing that our army is driven by moral decisions, which means taking care of our country and the hostages, and not only the interests of antisemitic countries around us."

"I conclude my appeal to you with a request that you change the message that was conveyed to the people of Israel and the nations of the world: that our soldiers and citizens are worth less. I call upon you to change your decision: reinstate the officers to their positions, strengthen the army, strengthen our respect for the army, and make the whole world respect us for our strength. Do not weaken the IDF and do not weaken the Israeli society. At times of war, mistakes happen. The prices we have had to pay are already too heavy to bear, this price is unnecessary," Iris Haim concluded.