Rabbi Eliezer Melamed
Question: Rabbi, what is your reaction to the violent incidents which took place Monday night in the Shomron against the Brigadier Commander, Deputy Brigadier Commander, and soldiers?
Answer: I don’t know exactly what happened, but one thing I am sure: Whatever the media reports is extremely exaggerated. The media and the I.D.F.’s dubious reputation have been acquired over many years. Till this day, there hasn’t been one story which I was familiar with that was reported correctly. And I’m not talking about a slight inaccuracy due to human error, or even bias owing to a reporter’s leftwing viewpoint making it difficult for him to identify events accurately. Rather, we’re speaking about scandalous and intentional bias.
The I.D.F. spokesmen operate in this method because this is the nature of an army. The army uses all the means in its possession to defeat the enemy – including manipulation, fraud, diversion, etc. Woe unto us if the army did not prepare itself in such a way against the enemy, and woe unto us that in recent years the government and the Minister of Defense use the army and its methods against the settlers – the loyal representatives of the Jewish nation throughout history.
The erroneous reporting in the media stems from an obvious concerted attempt to malign the settlers by all possible means, in order to destroy the settlements in Judea and Samaria.
Now as well, the motivation to defame the settlers and to spread division amongst their ranks by inciting a wave of condemnations within the camp is clear – to open the way for the destruction of the outposts. And behold, the scheme has succeeded. According to reports, the Prime Minister, from the Likud Party no less, has assembled the security forces, directing them to deal with an ‘iron fist’ against so-called “Jewish terror” – in other words, to plan a wild destruction of houses in the outposts.
This position of mine is based on long, personal experience. Many of you remember the defamation spoken against me when the Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, decided to remove Yeshiva Har Bracha from the Hesder program. But now, let me recount one example out of many others.
The “Broken Leg” of Guy Hazut, Battalion Commander of the Paratroopers
On the eve of the last day of Pesach 2006 while staying at Kfar HaRo’eh, I heard the news on the radio that a serious confrontation had occurred between settlers in Har Bracha and soldiers, and that settlers had closed the settlement’s gate on the commander’s leg, and broke his leg. I was hurt and angry. How could people from our community dare do such a thing! I was realized that the media does not like us, but never in my mind did I imagine they would make-up a story that didn’t actually happen. Familiar with the heavy iron gate of the community, I thought that a group of people had confronted the battalion commander, and as he tried to enter the settlement, they forcefully closed the gate on his foot.
The true story was quite different. The gate in question is a small, flimsy, three foot-high goats’ pen fence, located on a hilltop two kilometers from the community. The Battalion Commander was chasing after a boy, who he suspected of previously throwing stones at an Arab vehicle, some four kilometers away from the community. During the chase, the Battalion Commander ran into a small post of the gate, hitting his foot. The supposedly injured Battalion Commander managed to wander around the area for another half an hour, cursing the settlers, and ordering his troops to close the two roads leading to the settlement, which at the time numbered a hundred and fifty families. And all this on the eve of the holiday! What’s more, a number of residents with health problems returning from medical check-ups were not allowed to go home for quite a long time. Along with all this, in three different incidents, Battalion Commander Hazut’s soldiers threatened settlers with their cocked weapons.
It should be noted (as the Jews in exile would point out when they attempted to persuade the authorities to treat them leniently) that amongst the community and Yeshiva, there were more over two hundred and fifty soldiers serving in both regular and reserve duty at the time. They and their families were threatened by the soldiers with cocked weapons.
Guy Hazut’s Media Expertise
When it comes to the media, Guy Hazut is quite proficient. Every event that he participated in reached the media in ‘real time’, according to his perspective, of course. After concluding his altercation with the residents, he went to the hospital to have his leg examined, while, simultaneously spreading lies to the media that the settlers had broke his leg. At the hospital, the Battalion Commander’s leg was found to be fine, and he was released immediately. Residents from the community contacted various reporters to deny the story, but the media continued to broadcast the lie, as if the settlers had beaten and injured the commander.
The bad name that Guy Hazut gave the settlement and the residents was difficult to cleanse. There was no point in arguing — no one would listen. All that can be said is – do not believe the media and the army spokesmen. No matter how much you think they’re lying, you’ll still be wrong – they lie even more.
Lies in Hebron
I give this example because, thus far, Guy Hazut has not yet apologized. Incidentally, he is presently the Hebron Brigade commander, and in the area under his command, one of his soldiers accidentally killed Rabbi Dan Marzbach ztz”l. But as is customary in the army and with Guy Hazut, on that very morning, a smoke screen of lies, falsification, and defamation against Rabbi Marzbach were spread in the media, as if he was guilty of his own killing.
Two months earlier, also in Hebron, I.D.F. spokesmen brazenly lied about the murder of Asher Palmer and his infant son Jonathan, saying they died in a car accident in which the father was guilty, having allegedly fallen asleep at the wheel. Only after a hard struggle by family, friends and public figures was the truth proven that they were killed due to Arab stone throwing – while this truth had already been known from the start. Even the I.D.F. was aware of it – the fact is that towards that very Shabbat, the army canceled the vacations of the soldiers in Judea and Samaria for fear of settler response.
While we’re on the subject, in every demonstration in which civilians are injured, immediately, one of the police commanders orders some of the policemen to lie on stretchers and claim they are injured, to be photographed for television, and sent to the hospital. Later on, you hear on the news: “In the demonstration, thirteen policemen were injured, as well as seven protesters.” Doctors have told me that most of the cops who come to hospitals after the demonstrations were pretenders; nothing actually happened to them, they apparently have to carry out orders to act like they’re injured and be hospitalized.
Rabbi Eliezer Melamed is the Dean of Yeshiva Har Bracha and a prolific author on Jewish Law. Rabbi Melamed is one of the most active leaders amongst the religious-Zionist public. This article was translated from his popular weekly column “Revivim” which appears in the “Basheva” newspaper. According to official media surveys, his column is the most widely read editorial amongst the religious and ultra-Orthodox public in Israel.
Rabbi Melamed’s articles also appear at: http://revivimen.yhb.org.il/