'Political indoctrination of soldiers? Nonsense'

Nationalist activist Baruch Marzel rejects claims by radical left in Channel 2 report, advises that they 'learn to honor the soldiers.'

Eliran Aharon ,

Baruch Marzel with soldiers in Hevron
Baruch Marzel with soldiers in Hevron
Eliran Aharon

Hevron activist Baruch Marzel of the Otzma Yehudit party, who nearly became an MK in the last elections, spoke with Arutz Sheva on Thursday about a Channel 2 report this week that presented him negatively.

The report tried to present Marzel as someone who hosts IDF soldiers for Shabbat meals at his home so as to speak with them about politics, making not so subtle insinuations of indoctrination.

Marzel rejected the claim, which was made by a radical leftist activist of Breaking the Silence interviewed in the report, and clarified that he doesn't speak with the soldiers about matters of politics.

"I didn't force anyone to come eat cholent with me, and I also didn't stuff schnitzel into anyone's mouth," he joked. "My door is open to all who are hungry - and of course soldiers come, thank God many of them (come), they deserve it, I love them and they are tzadikim (righteous)."

When asked what he thinks Channel 2 and Breaking the Silence want from him that would cause them to make such claims, he explained, "it's nicer for them (to think) that I fight with the soldiers, that I hit them and curse them - but what can you do, I love them."

"Let them learn, let them also start to honor the soldiers and maybe people will listen to them," Marzel said.

"Channel 2 works in the services of Breaking the Silence," he charged. "This is the fourth such report about the organization in the most recent period alone."

The activist warned that "we have to understand that this is a trend, and unfortunately they are succeeding in making the IDF command fold and really influence the functioning of the senior command, and these things trickle down."

"Relieved of the punishment of Ya'alon"

Turning his attention to another topic, Marzel said he is happy that Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) is being replaced, but is not so pleased by his replacement - Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, who demanded the post as a condition of joining the coalition.

"It's no secret that for five years I've marked Ya'alon and not a day goes by that I'm not at war against him. 'Blessed is the One who has relieved us of the punishment of this one,'" he said, in a joking reference to the blessing recited by parents when their child becomes bar mitzvah.

"Unfortunately, the one who is replacing him doesn't seem to me like he'll be any better. He is the only one in the whole Knesset who could make us miss the days of Defense Minister Ya'alon. Liberman is a very dangerous man in politics."

In response to the fact that Liberman is pressing for a death penalty for terrorist murderers as a condition of joining the coalition, Marzel reminded that "there is already today a death penalty in the lawbooks - it just needs to be implemented."

Israel's death penalty has only been used once back in 1962 against Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann.

"First let Liberman keep his smaller promises. His first test will be how many days after he is Defense Minister will the soldier Elor Azariya be released," he said, referencing the soldier on trial for shooting a wounded terrorist in Hevron.

"Let Liberman obtain the bodies of the missing soldiers in Gaza as he promised. These are more simple tests."

Marzel's opposition to Liberman may also partially be due to the latter's policy vision - Yisrael Beytenu's election campaign called to give up the "triangle" region in the north where over 300,000 Arab citizens of Israel live as part of creating a Palestinian state.