"The bodies were still warm; people were already hurling blame"

A haredi businessman who served in the Netzach Yehuda battalion, reacted to criticism leveled against the battalion's soldiers.

Hezki Baruch ,

Itzchak Whisky
Itzchak Whisky
Hezki Baruch

Itzchak Whisky, a young businessman, told Arutz Sheva about the path he followed from a family with deep roots in haredi society, to Netzach Yehuda, the haredi battalion within the Nahal infantry brigade, also known as "Nahal Haredi".

We met Whisky in the Jerusalem home of Los Angeles-based businessman David Hager, a founder of the Nahal Haredi battalion.

Whisky is the great grandson of the former leader of the Eida Haredit, Rabbi Moshe Blau. He grew up in the Me'ah She'arim neighborhood in Jerusalem, and remembers his childhood as a good and happy one.

Whisky told us that he opted for military combat service because he simply did not fit in to the life of Torah study. "I figured it would be better to do something with my life, rather than bluff the whole world into believing I was actually doing something."

The service in Nahal Haredi challenged and developed him, he said.

We asked him about the criticism recently leveled by media and parts of the public at the battalion's soldierly skills, after two of its men were killed in a terror attack at Givat Assaf.

"I heard the criticism and I responded to it," he stated. "These days, everyone thinks he can be the judge and the executioner, and believes he is an expert on security. Everyone has an opinion because we are all keyboard warriors."

"This is unfair criticism," he explained. "There have been similar incidents involving the Golani Brigade, which lost a soldier – Elichai Tahar-Lev of blessed memory – at the Ofra Junction. These are events that cannot be foreseen. They surprise you."

Whisky referred to the eyewitness testimony of a woman who said that the soldiers had sacrificed their own lives to protect the civilians who were present at the scene. "That was their role. The event ended with the death of two soldiers and another soldier is fighting for his life now, so with the bodies still warm and the soldier who is unable to give his version of what happened, everyone is analyzing what happened and reaching conclusions?"

In situations like these, said Whisky, "we can only sanctify the names" of the soldiers, "and see them as heroes who paid the dearest price, the price of life, for protecting Israel. No one can judge them. They fought, they protected and they paid with their lives."

As for Whisky himself – after completing his military service, he and another former Netzach Yehuda soldier set up a company that provides accessibility solutions for its clients. Its employees include former Netzach Yehuda soldiers and clients include large entities such as IMI Systems, Kupat Holim Clalit, Dan Hotels and more.

He believes that his chosen path can and should serve as a model for haredi society in general: A young man who is unable to find his place in the yeshiva should opt for military service and employment. "If you are not into the Shas with your heart and mind, and you are not studying seriously, the only alternative is to take personal responsibility for yourself and your family, and the society you live in."