Ri­fle-at­tack IDF sol­dier loses post

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY JEN­NIFER LIP­MAN

AN IS­RAELI of­fi­cer who struck a Dan­ish pro-pales­tinian pro­tester with his ri­fle in an al­legedly un­pro­voked in­ci­dent has been given a two-year ban from com­mand po­si­tions, but has not been sacked from the IDF.

Lt Col Shalom Eis­ner was told this week that he had been re­moved from his post as deputy com­man­der of the Jor­dan Val­ley Brigade and that he will be dis­al­lowed from tak­ing up com­mand roles for the next two years, in­clud­ing that of deputy com­man­der of the IDF of­fi­cer school, a po­si­tion he was due to oc­cupy.

The idf spokesman said the decision was taken on “moral grounds” and that there had been “pro­fes­sional and com­mand fail­ure”. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been launched.

Lt Col Eis­ner’s ac­tions, which were caught on film and posted on­line, have drawn con­dem­na­tions from se­nior po­lit­i­cal fig­ures. Lt Col Eis­ner has claimed the pro - tester pro­voked him by break­ing two of his fin­gers.

Nowa­days, a story of­ten be­comes news when it is caught on video — es­pe­cially if that video tells a sim­ple, shock­ing nar­ra­tive. Add to that “when it hap­pens in Is­rael”, and it is easy to un­der­stand how a film of IDF colonel Shalom Eis­ner, swing­ing his M16 against the head of a pro-pales­tinian Dan­ish ac­tivist, went vi­ral this week. It graph­i­cally re­told the myth that the IDF is a bru­tal op­pres­sor. Some in Is­rael rushed to de­fend Eis­ner on the grounds of his “heroic” record as a highly dec­o­rated sol­dier. But the Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties — and the ma­jor­ity of Is­raelis — could not have re­acted in a more proper way. Eis­ner has been blocked from re­ceiv­ing pro­mo­tion for two years and a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der way. De­fence Min­is­ter Ehud Barak, him­self a for­mer chief of staff, said: “Com­plet­ing mis­sions and main­tain­ing IDF norms and ethics are not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive. State­ments made over the past few days, sug­gest­ing that the of­fi­cer’s be­hav­iour was prompted by op­er­a­tional ne­ces­sity, are un­ac­cept­able.” Most Is­raelis have shown their dis­gust at Eis­ner’s ac­tions. Those who would at­tack Is­rael on the most spu­ri­ous jus­ti­fi­ca­tion should care­fully watch what hap­pens in an open, demo­cratic so­ci­ety.


Shalom Eis­ner

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