During Monday evening`s plenary sitting, Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Habayit HaYehudi) responded to comments made earlier by Defense Minister Moshe Ya`alon (Likud).
Addressing the video showing an IDF soldier shooting an apparently disarmed, wounded and supine Palestinian stabber in the head, Ya`alon said ”What happened in Hebron was a severe incident. The bottom line of an initial investigation conducted on Thursday was that this was an incident of a soldier who had transgressed, and not a hero. It was important that we – the IDF chief of staff, the defense minister and the prime minister – immediately express our views on this incident. We are not like the other side.”
Addressing the ”false information, manipulations” and attacks against IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, who condemned the shooting in Hebron, Minister Ya`alon said, ”Do you want a brutish army with no moral backbone? He who [strayed from the straight and narrow] must be held accountable.”
Without naming Bennett, Ya’alon said ”Unfortunately, even within the coalition, there is a minister who instead of calling the defense minister before going to the media, telephoned [the soldier`s family] in order to show encouragement and support.”
Bennett said in response: ”How are those young investigator soldiers influenced when the defense minister determines that the soldier acted immorally? Moreover, he criticized me for phoning the soldier`s father. I am saying here that I have spoken with him a number of times. The son may have made a very grave mistake, but does that make them radioactive? Suddenly we cannot talk to the wonderful family of an outstanding soldier? Have we lost it? We send our children to protect us. We are talking about a battlefield, not some sterile media studio.”
”As for the incident itself – two terrorists go out to murder civilians and a controversial incident takes place,” Bennett told the plenum. ”The Military Police`s investigation hasn`t even begun, and the State of Israel`s entire leadership, in both the coalition and opposition, are already condemning. Everyone `lunges` at this soldier, and then the material is transferred to a Military Police investigator. What chance is there for an impartial investigation?”