The headlines read: “Netanyahu blasts Bennett for botching injured soldier’s name, then backtracks”; “Mother of critically wounded soldier: My son was shot for nothing”; “Bennett apologizes for mixing up name of critically wounded soldier”; “Parents of Barel Shmueli, who remains in critical condition, tell general to resign over incident as he visits hospital: ‘Take off the uniform'”.
The shock and pain of the Shmueli family and their sometimes unbridled reactions have been turned into a media spectacle at a time that should be devoted to prayer and support. Rabbi Meir taught that one should not try to placate people when they are angry, or offer them comfort when they are grieving.
My heart goes out to the Shmueli family. I know what it is like to be at the bedside of an unconscious son critically injured while serving his country. I know what it is like to be in the waiting room as one’s son undergoes critical brain surgery in an attempt to save his life, not knowing what kind of a life he will lead even if he were to survive.
At such a time as this the media should not be serving as a mouth piece to voice the anger, pain and anguish expressed by members of the family. Politicians should not be trying to score points. At such a time as this the wise should remain silent.
There will be a time to investigate the incident, discuss what could possibly have been done to prevent it, and seek to avoid its recurrence. Now we can only pray for Barel and offer support to his family as they grapple with their shock and their anxiety.