The Tragic Deaths of Yuval Castelman & The Three Abductees Have The Same Origins

On the 70th day of fighting, another terrible tragedy occurred, the IDF killing three hostages due to mistaken identity, Yotam Chaim, Samer Talalka, and another abductee whose family asked not to publish his name (probably because the family observes Shabbat) יהי זכרם ברוך.

The unnecessary death of the three abductees, who apparently ran away from their captors and tried to find an escape route could have been avoided, not as a result of “identification issues” but as a result of a policy according to which – we don’t shoot at people who are not armed.

This tragic event took place in broad daylight, on a sunny day, at 10 am. So it is difficult to argue that low visibility or the darkness made it difficult to identify them as unarmed. This tragedy stems from several reasons:

  1. “First shoot, then ask questions” policy.
  2. A consistent brainwashing campaign. In the 14 years of Netanyahu’s rule with his  partners from the fanatical right, the brainwashing carried out thanks to government and private funds, targeted children and youth in Israel by various means. One important point of reference that was utilized by the fanatical right was the case of Alor Azaria, who became a hero for the Israeli right. Unfortunately, the Azaria example led to the perception among our soldiers and most of the public  – Shoot first, talk second. Another reason is a law called “Dromi law” which again allows homeowners to shoot first, then ask questions. 

Another unique reason is pressure and burden on our soldiers and reserves, who often operate without any intel on the ground plus the fact that most of them are in operational activity for about two months.

If the dead were unarmed Palestinians, we wouldn’t hear about such an incident. Which means – shooting at unarmed people is commonplace. A shocking thought. This is the main reason the three abductees were killed by our own soldiers.

These same reasons led to the unnecessary death of the Israeli hero Yuval Castleman ז״ל. That is the lesson our children learn in schools, on TV, on the net, not only these hill hopping right wing fanatics. – first shoot, then ask questions.

It doesn’t matter if a person is unarmed, raises his hands, begs not to be shot – we shoot him. And for a large portion of Israelis they will look like heroes.

If you recall, this is what was said about Castleman shooting, the shooter was “the hero” for several hours. “Everyone wants an X on the rifle” was claimed by right wing publicists. This is the accepted approach today.

That is why it is a real catastrophe that hundreds of thousands of weapons have been distributed to the citizens of the country in recent months. The number of casualties we will have from these new weapons on the street will be ן incomprehensible. 

And as for Gaza, the clear picture for weeks, certainly after Friday’s tragedy – that we simply should not be there. The IDF has nothing to gain in Gaza, simply because there is no reasonable goal that can be achieved.

Neither the elimination of Hamas nor the release of abductees.

The only way to release more abductees is through negotiations, a way we have already seen that works.

We are now operating in Gaza out of revenge. nothing more. And we are fighting a group whose people have nothing to lose. Therefore, even if another 20,000 Hamas members are eliminated, their children, brothers, and cousins will join Hamas.

Israel should unilaterally cease fire and leave Gaza . Acknowledge that we took a very painful blow on October 7th and try to start building from there.

This war yields nothing for Israel except more victims and bereaved families, billions in costs and worldwide hatred and criticism.

But unfortunately the politicians who lead Israel, as well as the heads of the security systems (who were appointed by the same politicians), do not have anyone among them who will shout “the king is naked”.

And so the unnecessary cycle of death will unfortunately continue. Anger and sadness for every soldier and abductee who lost or will lose their lives and for every bereaved family. for nothing.
Leaders, please start using your heads. Stop the fighting now!

About the Author
Attorney, former communications director for the Israeli government, lobbyist, strategy, former reporter for Galei Tzahal and Haaretz, former Shaliach to the US, CEO of The Israeli TV & Film Producers Association, Campaign manager for several parties and incumbents. Led several social causes, organizations, causes and unions. Life-long volunteer and student.