A Hebron soldier is accused of needlessly killing a Palestinian terrorist on March 24, 2016, and the IDF is investigating. Without pre-judging the results of the investigation, I believe that the soldier deserves our support.
The usual anti-Zionist zealots have jumped on this incident to make their usual wholesale claims against Israel. No surprise there. Unfortunately, however, many Zionists have also already decided and publicly declared that the soldier is guilty and an embarrassment to Israel. Even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and the IDF itself condemned the soldier within hours of the incident.
I understand their haste although I do not agree with it. Israel is constantly under verbal assault. The IDF is constantly maligned while the behavior of armies that do not have the high ethical standards of the IDF is largely ignored. Zionists are afraid that this soldier’s actions will be used in the relentless campaign against Israel, so they hope that by reacting quickly, they will soften the blow.
In a different context, the people who condemned the soldier would have said that accusations must be proven in court before reaching any conclusions. A suspected rapist, a suspected murderer, and even a suspected terrorist would have had their right to be considered innocent until proven guilty respected more than this soldier had.
We must take a step back and realize that IDF soldiers deserve our support. Not only do they deserve the same benefit of the doubt as common criminals, but they deserve much more.
Each IDF soldier puts his or her life on the line every minute that he wears the IDF uniform. Simply taking a wrong turn has resulted in the gruesome killing of two IDF soldiers in 2000 by a hate-filled Palestinian society. Israel lives in an extremely dangerous and hostile neighborhood, and the IDF is the only thing that prevents every single Jew in Israel from being slaughtered.
The IDF ensures the survival of a liberal democracy that is hated and vilified by an international horde of bigots while the worst despotic countries in the world are practically ignored. For this, regardless of whether they chose to be in the IDF or whether they are there because of conscription, every IDF soldier deserves the respect, admiration, and support of every moral person on earth.
The IDF must investigate, punish, reform, and do whatever else it has to do to remain the highly ethical army that it is. But regardless of what the result of this particular investigation is, the accused soldier deserves the benefit of the doubt and he deserves due process.
Even if the soldier is found guilty, he will still deserve to be treated with dignity. His family will still deserve to be treated with respect for being the family of an IDF soldier. And everything should be done to ensure that he and his family do not suffer punishment beyond what the due process would have determined.
In contrast to much of the world around it, Israel is a civilized society that respects the rule of law and civil liberties. These rules should not be suspended when a soldier is accused of wrong-doing. In fact, every step and every effort that is taken to make Israel a fair society is even more important when the accused is an IDF soldier.
Do not let the anti-Zionist tactics of attempting to shame Israel at every turn succeed. No politician, IDF officer, or citizen of Israel should feel the need to throw a soldier to the lynch mob. Follow due process with pride and composure.