'Soldiers, not jurists, are the IDF's moral compass'

Minister Bennett addresses bereaved IDF families. 'Your sons did not fall in vain.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Gideon Marcus

Education Minister Naftali Bennett took part this evening in a salute to the 'Or L'Mishpachot' (light to families) Association, which supports, strengthens and assists bereaved families who lost their children in military service and to terrorist attacks.

"Where you stand, it is difficult for a normal person to stand," the minister said. "The pain is enormous and every morning you need unseen forces to choose life again. Or L'Mishpachot does just that - it gives you a little more personal light, but also illuminates all of Israeli society."

Bennett added: "As a member of the cabinet, to be in such a place reminds me once again of the reverence that should be felt by every leader in the State of Israel. Some of your children fell during Operation Protective Edge. I voted for sending them to the battlefield to protect the residents of the south. It is important for you to know that their fall was not in vain."

He touched on the increasing legal oversight of the IDF's actions. "I read that they wrote that the Military Advocate General is the moral compass of the IDF, but that's not true. The commanders and fighters are the moral compass. We need lawyers, and it's okay to help set rules and protect the fighters. The State of Israel operates according to international law, as it should be. But the IDF's ethics, from the War of Independence to the present day, has been determined by IDF commanders in the field, not by jurists."

"That's how it was, and that's how it will be," the chairman of the Jewish Home said. "Morality determines that the first and foremost responsibility is to protect the lives of citizens of the State of Israel and IDF fighters. We are not a bloodthirsty nation. Throughout Jewish history, we have no legacy of desire for battle or war, and never will."

Bennett made it clear that he is counting on the current IDF chief of staff, Gadi Eizenkot, the incoming chief of staff, Aviv Kochavi, and the IDF commanders who are implementing the policy of 'purity of arms.' "Purity of arms means not to use weapons unnecessarily, but also not to refrain from using weapons when it is necessary to protect our fighters and the citizens of the State of Israel."

"I think of you all year round," he told the bereaved families. "There are parallel worlds. There is the ordinary worlds, and there is your world. You are not used to it, you are a holy nation, a people that did not choose to be where you are but chose to educate your children to Zionism, to the love of the State of Israel, to be giving. Your children have been brought up to give, even if you have to give everything. I hope that it will not be long before our enemies will be fed up with the thought that they will be able to remove us from this country. It depends not only on us but also on our strength. So that they will understand that the State of Israel is here forever and ever."