Ya'alon apologizes over aide who insulted war hero

Adviser had claimed Maj. Gen. Roi Klein jumped on grenade to cover up error, not save fellow soldiers.

Ido Ben-Porat ,

Moshe Ya'alon
Moshe Ya'alon
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon issued an official apology on his Facebook page Sunday afternoon, after his adviser Moshe Ben-Zaken posted a rant against war hero and fallen IDF soldier Major General Roi Klein. 

"I spoke a few moments ago with Sarah, the wife of Roi Klein, and his father Aharon, following a personal, abusive and unnecessary post published last week by an employee in my office," Ya'alon wrote.

"I made it clear in our conversation that I apologize for the publication and totally reject these words, which were not written to me and do not reflect the position of the defense establishment and the IDF," he added, noting that he also paid tribute to Roi and "the heroic legacy he left behind." 

Who is a 'true' hero?

Klein's soldiers were caught up in an intense firefight with Hezbollah jihadists during the Second Lebanon War in 2006 when one of the terrorists threw a grenade; the commander immediately yelled "Shema Yisrael" and jumped on the explosive, sacrificing himself in order to save his men.

But Ben-Zaken insisted, in a post commemorating Klein's soldier and his own personal friend Shimon Dahan, that Klein actually made the jump to cover up an operational mistake, and ergo be absolved of wrongdoing. 

The post, entitled "You turned cowards into heroes," insists that Klein's "judgement error became an act of national heroism" when he decided, "against all orders and in broad daylight" to break down doors of terrorists in the city, thereby attracting attention. 

Klein was ordered to find cover and keep his men safe until nightfall, Ben-Zaken said. 

"They were immediately compromised," he fumed. "Roi, who put you into this trap, jumped on the grenade to cover up his mistake, and you - in your innocence - were left facing dozens of terrorists. You managed to take down several but were not able to leave uninjured." 

"When your friends ran for cover in surrounding homes and in the forest, you stood your ground and fought for your homeland," Ben-Zaken continued. "Shimon, you are the hero - and not like the 'heroes' of today where they are always trying to paint someone else as a hero."