Sunday, March 27, 2016

To Rot in Jail or to Rot in the Ground

Do you want to know why is reasonable that the soldier might have shot the terrorist...read this. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. Maybe it was justified, maybe it wasn't...but read this. THIS is what our sons have to endure...and if they make the wrong decision in the seconds they have to make a decision, they can pay for it with their lives. This was posted in Hebrew to Dror Zicherman's Facebook page. (With great thanks to Rahel Jaskow for the fast and amazing translation.)


Dror Zicherman’s Facebook Post


All right. I have to get something off my chest that’s been there for two days already — roughly since I heard about the soldier who made sure that a terrorist who had tried to murder him was dead.

Before I do that, I want to state that I have told very few people some of what I’m about to write in this post, and that my feeling that I must write it now is flooding me from inside. Still, I’m going to share it.

On December 29, 2005, I was on a routine patrol team that was part of the ongoing operations that my battalion was carrying out in the Tulkarm sector, where I was serving.

During the patrol, I received a warning that terrorists were planning to commit a terror attack at a Hanukkah show, so Ori Binamo, of blessed memory, decided to set up a surprise checkpoint at the southern exit from the city of Tulkarm.

We received an explicit order to inspect every vehicle coming from Tulkarm that was heading toward Israel. The main thing we were looking for was the birth year of the suicide bomber: 1976. We did as ordered, checking every vehicle carefully. Fifty minutes after the checkpoint had been set up, a Palestinian taxi arrived. It was carrying eight passengers.

I took their ID cards from them, and on inspecting them I found that one of them bore the birth year 1976. Immediately we ordered the passengers in the taxi to get out so that we could inspect them.

We inspected the first three passengers. When we saw that they were not carrying any weapons, we told them to stand aside. The fourth passenger was wearing a leather coat. Even though it was December, the weather that day was warmer than usual.

That passenger was a suicide terrorist on his way to carry out an attack at one of the Hanukkah shows. (The terrorist and the other passengers had permits to work in Israel. That is less relevant to the post, but it’s important to note.)

In any case, Ori wanted to check the passenger, but his leather coat made me extremely suspicious. During the inspection I aimed my weapon at the terrorist’s head. When Ori saw that I had aimed my weapon, we had a conversation that I’ll never forget.

Ori: Zicherman, you’re not shooting.

I: But he’s wearing a leather coat.

Ori: You’re not shooting. Period.

Of course, I listened to Ori and followed the rules, which stated that we could shoot only if there was positive identification.

A few seconds later, Ori turned toward the terrorist and began speaking to him in Hebrew.

Ori: Open your coat and show me your shirt.

The terrorist looked at him wide-eyed, as though he didn’t understand Hebrew. Ori then started shouting at him in Arabic, signaling me not to shoot, as I stood holding my weapon with a bullet in the chamber, aimed directly at the terrorist’s face. But I obeyed Ori and did not move.

Ori [in Arabic]: Ifra’ al bluza (Lift up your shirt).

The terrorist looked at me, looked back at Ori and made a movement as if he were about to lift up his shirt. But instead, he activated the detonator of the bomb he was carrying — an explosive that weighed almost 30 kilograms — and blew himself up at me and at Ori.

Ori was killed in the incident, and I was severely wounded. The whole incident comes back to me every evening, years after it happened. I obeyed orders. I did not fire at the terrorist because there was no positive identification.

I wanted very much to shoot him, but Ori, who was careful to obey orders, would not allow me to do it. Both of us paid dearly for it, he with his life and I with my health, all because I obeyed the rules of engagement and did not open fire on the terrorist even though I wanted very much to do so. That’s how I am; I’m not a rule-breaker.

Why am I sharing this? Because I’m fed up. I’m very frustrated with what’s been happening in our country over the past few months. Israeli army troops have been dealing for months with the dilemma of whether to neutralize terrorists or make sure that they are dead, and each time the same commentators on the various television channels debate about the kind of society we have become.

As I see it, the incident that took place on Saturday is the worst it’s ever been. A soldier shoots a terrorist and makes sure that he is dead, and all the media outlets post “atrocity photos” of the “execution,” as if the soldier had executed some innocent passerby who had done nothing.

One television commentator says that the soldier is a fan of The Shadow [the nickname of rap artist Yoav Eliasi, who made controversial statements following the terror attack on Bus 78 in Jerusalem in October] and of Ben-Zion Gopstein [head of Lehava, a controversial anti-assimilation organization] because he “liked” their Facebook page. Another commentator adds that the soldier had obeyed the chief rabbi, who said that it was forbidden to listen to the chief of staff or anyone of that sort (I don’t know whether the quote is exact).

Everyone vied with one another as to who was more shocked by the incident, and tried to look for excuses everywhere.

And the military establishment? It has distanced itself from him [the soldier]. People everywhere are trying to be good, saying that these are not the army’s procedures, that the Israeli army does not carry out executions.

That’s true. The army does not carry out executions. A soldier of the Israeli army made sure that a terrorist was dead.

That terrorist was also wearing a leather coat on a hot day.

That terrorist also moved his hand as if he were about to detonate a bomb.

The soldier did not kill an innocent civilian. He killed a person with the means and the intent to murder soldiers or random Israelis.
The procedures that they speak of in the Israeli army are a joke — a very bad joke.

Keep telling me about how our army is humane. But before you talk about the rules of engagement, remember that it’s because of those rules that Ori is gone and I’m severely wounded and suffering from PTSD.

Who knows? Maybe it would have been better to be considered a murderer (by the media and Amnon Abramovitch [A Soldier's Motherand I'll add here David Horwitz and other journalists at The Times of Israel]) than to be suffering from PTSD.

But in my opinion, that soldier is a hero, and I salute him. He killed a terrorist and prevented a future attack on innocent people.

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A Soldier's Mother continues:

In 2005, a terrorist wearing a leather jacket on a hot day...murdered an Israeli soldier who had ordered another soldier to hold his fire and follow the rules of engagement...a few days ago, a soldier didn't hold his fire...and this investigation is being turned into a three ring circus by media outlets that care more about ratings than they do about Israel...more about the damn number of hits they get...than the safety or future of a 19 year old boy....and all I can say is someday your child will be 19...and if you are still living here in Israel, he may serve in the army...and he will be given a weapon and taught how and when to use it...and if you are really lucky, he'll never be called on to raise it, point it...shoot it...and if he does...and there's even a tiny question...how will you feel when the first words out of someone's mouth is that he should "rot in jail."

Well, Ori isn't rotting in jail..he's rotting in the ground...because all these people who think they know better forced it into his head not to fire, to push back the suspicion until there is no doubt...no doubt...which is only proven after the explosion...after Ori died and Dror is scarred for life.

I have never been so sick in my life of the selfish, holier than thou attitude of people who know nothing but dare to judge and convict others. And shame on the army for allowing it. For the first time in my life, I'm thinking about pushing to get my son out of a combat unit. You don't deserve him, Zahal, if this is what you do.

1 comment:

Joe T said...

While we know that we Jews hold ourselves to a higher standard, we need to think about why each person is at a particular place. And while it might be morally superior to tell a soldier to hold fire, and wait, it might also be fatal to that soldier. We know that the terrorist was there to kill, and we know that the soldier is trying to protect. If you think this is a clear case, read the story from 2005 - and while we have weeks and months to determine if the soldier behaved properly, he is still alive.

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