Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) on Friday rebuffed IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who made controversial statements on Wednesday discouraging the use of "excessive" force against terrorists.
Speaking to high schoolers in Bat Yam, Eizenkot had said IDF soldiers must not "empty magazines" into a 13-year-old female terrorist wielding scissors and trying to stab victims. He also disparaged a famous Talmudic maxim, saying "the IDF cannot speak in slogans like 'when someone comes to kill you – kill him first.'”
Erdan struck back on Friday, saying the situation of a 13-year-old terrorist having an ammunition magazine emptied into her simply never happened.
"One thing was missing in the storm over the Chief of Staff's comments about not needing to empty a magazine into a 13-year-old female youth with scissors: no one noted that it never happened," emphasized the minister.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) also attacked the comments on Thursday, after two 14-year-old Arab terrorists armed with knives murdered 21-year-old Tuvia Yanai Weissman and moderately wounded 36-year-old Avi Avital as they were shopping.
"I hope that the Chief of Staff's statements condemning automatic fire were not mistakenly interpreted and caused hesitation and an endangerment of life," said Katz.
Eizenkot's comments caused anger among senior police officials, and MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) asked Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) to summon Eizenkot in for a talk over the statement. However, Ya'alon on Thursday defended the IDF Chief of Staff's controversial statements, saying "we cannot...lose our humanity."
Regarding the open-fire orders, last August the protocols were made even tighter, mandating soldiers in Judea and Samaria to only fire in the air, and not even shoot the lower extremities of an attacker other than in extreme cases of imminent life-threatening danger. In May, it was reported that IDF soldiers were told to avoid killing terrorists, even if they spot them as they are about to throw a potentially lethal firebomb or rock at a car.
The Talmudic dictum of "when someone comes to kill you – kill him first" was recently quoted by Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef last October, when he praised soldiers who kill attacking terrorists and lauded them for performing a mitzvah.
A week earlier senior Sephardic Rabbi Meir Mazuz urged Israeli bystanders to kill terrorist attackers rather than capture them alive, and Tzfat (Safed) Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu likewise warned not to let terrorists "survive their attacks," to prevent their ability to be freed and return to attack again.