Jerusalem, 16 August 1995


(communicated by Prime Minister’s Media Advisor)

Following is Prime minister Rabin’s response to evidence concerning the killing of Egyptian prisoners of war in 1956, conveyed in a letter to the Minister of Education:

The first years of the Israel Defense Force, immediately following its founding, were marked by the birth pains of an army whose military doctrine, behaviour and discipline had not yet been crytallized. In those years, there were exceptions, along with difficult fighting involving insufficient means.

Brig.-Gen. Biro no longer serves in the reserves. In addition to being a survivor of the Holocaust, one of the first to serve in the IDF, and a brave fighter, he has made remarks in newspaper interviews, in the last few days, which do not reflect honorably upon him, and certainly not upon the IDF. I am amazed by the style of his remarks, and I condemn his harsh words without reservation, but no less than the act itself.

In any case, the IDF achieved its start as a humanitarian army, whose soldiers were blessed with a unique ethical standard. The exceptions teach nothing about the general rule. The opposite is true: they show lone individuals who did things which the rest of us did not do, and which every one of

us condemns absolutely.