Thursday, July 24, 2014, 10:29 AM On Thursday, July 24 Honenu’s staff distributed “legal
first aid” cards to IDF soldiers serving in the south of Israel so that in the event that an investigation is opened against them they will know how to receive assistance from Honenu, a non-profit legal aid organization providing legal assistance to soldiers and citizens, who at times, due to the security situation, are harassed by certain government authorities and a court system heavily influenced and pressured by anti-Israel “human rights” groups.
In the United Nations and extreme left-wing organizations in Israel, the demand to open an investigation into the conduct of the State of Israel and IDF soldiers in the Gaza Strip has already begun. Honenu decided to think ahead and brief the soldiers on their legal rights in the event that an investigation opens against them due to their actions while in active service. The strict rules of engagement often put soldiers deployed in life-saving missions at enormous, and frequently unnecessary risk.
Honenu’s staff recently printed 10,000 “legal first aid” cards for soldiers, and on Thursday, July 24, went south to the Gaza Belt region and distributed the cards to soldiers. “Dear soldier. Foreign organizations are arriving in order to antagonize soldiers in combat zones and areas of conflict. Therefore, many soldiers are under investigation,” the card reads. “In any event which necessitates legal assistance, contact us. Your life and your liberty are at stake, and we value your safety.”
Honenu representatives went to areas near the front lines and distributed cards to approximately 1,000 soldiers, some of whom were preparing for entry into combat zones.
Out of the exceptional unity which has come about during these days of fighting we turn to the soldiers and tell them, “We are with you, we pray that no soldier will be injured and we are your legal support,” said Honenu director Shmuel (Zangi) Meidad.
Responses from soldiers have been warm, many of them thanked the representatives for the support and also shared with them their concerns about possibly becoming entangled in legal issues during their active duty. One reserve soldier expresses sorrow that only now had he been made aware of the organization, because several years ago he faced legal problems following his involvement with a violent incident of rioting Arabs and felt abandoned due to being forced to cope alone – so he thought – with the legal procedure started against him.
“It is difficult to ignore the hostile foreign organizations and the various ‘Goldstones’ which enter areas of conflict and combat zones,” said Meidad. “They antagonize and harass soldiers on guard duty. They intimidate soldiers and they weaken the resolve of the soldiers and the government faced with a cruel enemy. They created a situation in which, despite their motivation, somewhere in the heart of every soldier a doubt begins to form, and a concern that the choice is between ‘either prison or grave’. Then all kinds of amusing but sad slogans were coined such as ‘Better to have a bad lawyer than a good cantor [to lead prayers at one's funeral],’” Meidad explained.
This is the main reason for founding the Honenu organization 12.5 years ago: the need to provide aid to soldiers who carry out their duties highly motivated, but later require legal assistance. Honenu produced the cards, small enough to fit into a pocket, so that the soldiers would have the legal backing that they deserve, with the hope that there will be no need for it.”
In the coming days Honenu representatives will continue to distribute the cards to soldiers serving in southern Israel and throughout Yehuda and Shomron, where the situation is also complex.