Eli Ben Shem, head of the Yad Lebanim organization for the families of IDF fallen (whose son, Kobi, was one of the 73 IDF soldiers who lost his life in a terrible helicopter disaster in 1998), told media on Tuesday morning that the Mount Herzl grave of Yoni Netanyahu, the brother of the prime minister, has been "desecrated," most likely by left-wing protesters.
Speaking to Channel 12, Ben Shem said that, "No one knows about it, not even the Netanyahu family, but a few weeks ago they desecrated Yoni's grave -- Yoni, an Israeli hero who fell at Entebbe. What has this country come to?"
Ben Shem added that the families of the IDF fallen are consumed with worry that the Memorial Day events this year will be hijacked by politicians. "Every single day, Yad Lebanim fields dozens of phone calls from the families, requesting that this year, politicians not be present on Mount Herzl. These families are being torn apart by what's going on -- it's awful."
"I'm concerned for the dignity of the fallen, worried about what could happen on Memorial Day with people standing there at the gravesites, cursing and shouting at one another. The State of Israel has managed to reach a ceasefire with Hamas -- can't we make a ceasefire among ourselves?" he said.
Ben Shem pointed out that at the Western Wall, only the President of Israel and the IDF Chief of Staff attend the Memorial Day event, and suggested that this protocol could be applied to Mount Herzl as well.
Responding to his claims regarding the grave of Yoni Netanyahu, the Defense Ministry issued a statement saying: "This refers to a number of people who placed a red heart on the grave as part of a memorial project, and the red color of the stone ran onto the grave site, so that it may have appeared as red drops on the grave ... This was not a destructive act and the red color was cleaned off a short while later."
Yoni Netanyahu was the commander of an elite IDF company which conducted the Entebbe hostage release operation, in which he lost his life. The operation was later named "Operation Yonatan" in his memory.