Teaching “Tohar HaNeshek” just got easier.

I have been a bit tired of arguing via Social Media so I decided to write another blog post and cut it short.

Last week a video was circulated, the video showed an IDF Kfir Brigade Soldier shooting a terrorist lying on the ground with no visible sign of life. I have heard many arguments justifying this type of behavior. Surprisingly, the more vocal voices I have heard in this soldier’s defense came from women, although I admit I don’t have statistics to prove a theory.

I have heard a number of arguments in the soldier’s defense, I will do my best to explain why the IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that there was anything in this scenario that justified this sort of behavior.

Just to get the facts straight, on Thursday morning during routine activity in Hebron, soldiers were attacked by 2 knife wielding Islamic terrorists. The soldiers on duty performed extremely well and despite one lightly injured soldier, both terrorists were “neutralized”. The term “neutralized” in essence means that during the course of the attack and within IDF guidelines, they made sure the terrorists would not be able to attack them again. There have been incidents in recent months where terrorists have needed to be shot multiple times since they kept getting up trying repeatedly to attack soldiers or civilians. One of the more noteworthy cases was of the Muslim Bezeq Technician who ran over pedestrians and then exited his vehicle and started to hack bystanders with cleavers. The video shows him being shot 4 times, he then gets up wielding a cleaver, he is then shot 4 more times, he still manages to try to get up and is shot twice more.

If it wasn’t clear, in Hebron on Thursday – this wasn’t the case. In this case both terrorists were shot and were lying on the ground not moving.

The soldier responsible for the additional shooting arrives 6 minutes after the attack took place, 6 whole minutes. He arrives as ambulances and other military forces converge, he then, seemingly out of nowhere decides to cock his rifle and take an additional shot at the terrorist.

Some points for all those pitching arguments out there:

For those of you arguing “he could have had a suicide vest”

Ok, he could have had a suicide vest. Those that have served in combat know that if you shoot someone wearing a suicide vest at his “center mass” which is usually where the vest is located, chances are reasonable that you will set off the vest. By doing that in an area now filled with emergency personnel you are basically fulfilling the terrorist’s desire.

Additionally, as mentioned, the soldier fires his weapon with various emergency personnel within his line of fire. This type of behavior is extremely dangerous as well as unprofessional.

5.56 caliber M-16 rounds are extremely volatile and tend to travel in all kinds of funny directions after hitting a target, it is best to be behind the line of fire, not in its immediate surroundings as many soldiers were in this case. For the same reason it is best not to shoot them at anyone wearing a suicide vest unless you have a clear head shot which definitely wasn’t the case here.

For those arguing “Those cameras caused the soldier duress and that’s why he fired”

The IDF has had a long strenuous battle against so called “peace activists” inciting behavior trying to provoke IDF soldiers and cause them to react in an unprofessional manner.

This again has nothing to do with the scenario. The soldier was not being provoked by activists. Had all “peace activists” worked like this they may have actually had a chance at earning respect from the Israeli general public. Since most of the time they resort to provocations, most of the public somehow hopes this is another “Pallywood” production – which it isn’t.

For those arguing “The politicians incited him to do it – its their fault”

The politicians definitely appeal to the lowest common denominator – but anyone who has served in the IDF knows that you have a commander and a chain of command, the IDF isn’t a “free for all” where you can do whatever you feel like. Had this been the case you would have seen all the other soldiers in the video decide to open fire as well, they didn’t. They didn’t, because ALL the other soldiers knew that firing at the terrorist was both unnecessary as well as against regulations.

Unfortunately the soldier that took this lone shot made a terrible mistake, a mistake that taints the IDF, a mistake which was fortunately caught on camera as much as I may personally loathe B’tsellem, this video is by far a service they have provided the IDF so it can continue to train soldiers under the values of “Tohar Haneshek” the IDF holds dear.

We must say in a clear and loud voice – this is not how IDF soldiers are trained and this is an error which cannot be fixed with false claims made by Politicians seeking to gain favor among right wing voters.

It is better to look in the mirror before it is too late and educate on our errors instead of justifying them. The state of Israel is almost 68 years old, we should be mature enough to fight for our cause justly and not be afraid to “own up” to one of our owns mistakes when one is made – mistakes happen, but we can only fix them if we are willing to admit we have made one.

About the Author
I work in journalism as a freelance photojournalist, I write and produce special features for INN (Arutz 7) related to Policy and Military issues I also contribute to magazines such as Air Forces Monthly as well as Israel Hayom daily newspaper among other publications.