The public has its limits, too
The Israeli public is sick of the army siding with anti-Israel elements, tying the hand of its soldiers and commanders, thus putting them in harm’s way. The outrage over the denunciation of the soldier in the Hebron shooting is the pot boiling over.
The long, sunny days between the Hebrew month of Adar and Pessah. And this time of year, when terrorist attacks are commemorated twice a day. Five years since the Fogel family was slaughtered. Twenty years since the terrible Dizengoff bombing, the Purim when costumed children were murdered and wounded. Fourteen years since Bloody March. The Park Hotel. The Matza Restaurant. Thirteen years since the No. 37 bus bombing in Haifa. Three years since Evyatar “Napo” Borovsky was slaughtered at a bus stop at Tapuah Junction. That’s only a partial list. And people are still being murdered in our streets.
And in exhausting days like these, the people of Israel must decide (before it’s decided for them) whether they side with a terrorist or with an Israeli soldier. I might not allow that soldier to date my daughter. It doesn’t change the fact that I’m on his side. He’s a soldier and we’re in the midst of a war.
To gauge how far apart those who hold the microphones are from the public, all you needed to do was listen to Army Radio host Yael Dan this week. An expert in social media networks was on the line to paint the listeners a picture of the “wild incitement against the chief of staff” (a fish in the net harsh words like “scandal,” “criticism of the chief of staff,” and claims that “the system is ineffectual.”) Dan quoted an amazing statistic: 80% (!) of social media users opposed the chief of staff’s position. It doesn’t jive with the people she knows from her own neighborhood.
“Maybe the [Internet] is a platform for more extremist types, because other kinds of people with different opinions make less effort to express themselves online?” Dan asked the expert, and added, “There are people who do this professionally, right? Who are paid? There is a mechanism, with very sophisticated techniques, for embedding responses like these — the violent ones – and from that end of the Internet, right? These aren’t just people’s spontaneous responses, is there someone doing this professionally?”
It’s the people, Yael, and this is their face. They aren’t being paid. And they aren’t extremists. These are Israelis who don’t want the soldier to become a scapegoat. These are people who were present at a stabbing attack and saw a human being like themselves trying to spill their blood. They are voters from all the parties, whose intuition tells them that the terrorist is mortal. The B’Tselem incitement, according to which the soldier is a murderer, infuriates them more than his violation of the code of conduct. They know the soldiers, their sons, and know that they aren’t the same as the gangs of murderers, and that we aren’t on the brink of anarchy.
It’s not only the soldier who is the scapegoat. The IDF chief of staff is, too. The people of Israel are tired of it. They’re sick of the legal advisors who curtail the responses of soldiers and officers, even at the cost of human life, and there have been such cases. They’re sick of seeing an IDF widow battle to have her husband’s headstone read that he died fighting a terrorist. It has no more patience with the Military Prosecutor, which still hasn’t announced whether Lt. Col. Neria Yeshurun, who was investigated after he shot at an empty (an empty!) house during Operation Protective Edge while the funeral for one of his fallen soldiers was taking place, will be tried. The people have blown a fuse over the loss of common sense, the day-to-day war, and in general.
They’re sick of members of the Journalists Party being the ones that write the discourse of values, deciding — for example — that Ramle and Beit Shemesh, where demonstrations in support of the soldier took place, weren’t “us” but “them.” They’re sick of the small group of “journalicians” that for hears has been preaching mercy toward the cruel and putting on kid gloves to empathetically interview the mothers and fathers of despicable terrorists.
Their efforts to do everything to smear the heroic, brave-hearted Israelis who fight the murderers
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