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Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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Breaking Ranks

March 20, 2009


Its been two months since Israel ended its 22-day offensive in Gaza – two months during which Israel has been weighing up the costs and the benefits of what was achieved in the fierce fighting.

Strong international condemnation of the offensive – and the slew of boycotts, bans and blunt dioplomacy that have followed – has been met with a mix of incredulity, anger and resignation in Israel.

Much of the condemnation of the offensive has been attributed in Israel to the standard leftist, anti-Israeli, anti-semitic rabble-rousing from the usual quarters along with a failure elsewhere in the world to understand the gravity of the rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israel which Israelis feel forced the army into action.

Within that narrow prism – Israel has, in large part, dismissed the criticism and a large tranche of public opinion is still supportive of the war despite questions about the achievements of a campaign which left Hamas in power, rockets still falling on southern Israel and Sgt Gilad Shalit still a captive somewhere in Gaza, 1,000 days after he was captured in 2006.

But internal criticism, from the very heart of Israel’s most venerated institution, is another matter entirely.

The publication of transcripts of conversations with soldiers who served in Gaza has whipped up a storm of controversy in Israel far beyond anything the international outcry stirred up.

The soldiers involved in the conversations are all graduates of the ‘Yitzhak Rabin pre-military program’ – which since 1998 has prepared participants for leading roles in the army.

Their words have cast Operation Cast Lead in a sombre new light.

Here is our video report on the story with the script (including translations) available here



(Photo: Israeli soldiers cross the Gaza border back to Israel early morning January 18, 2009 after a combat mission in Gaza. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis (ISRAEL)


“Much of the condemnation of the offensive has been attributed in Israel to the standard leftist, anti-Israeli, anti-semitic rabble-rousing from the usual quarters along with a failure elsewhere in the world to understand the gravity of the rocket fire from Gaza on southern Israel which Israelis feel forced the army into action.”

the audacity to even write some thing this stupid, is a huge dissapointmet in editorial staff of reuters for even letting this be written. in escece what you are saying that you have to be a jew hating anti israel person to be able to condemn atrocities and genocide? no you see, any human being in their right mind, whether they are jewish, muslim, christian, buddhist, what ever, was against this genocide. you really think that this conflict just started with rockets being fired, don’t you? i like how you failed to mentioned why the rockets are being fired in the first place. there is this rather small issue of a choking economic blockade that has prohibited the simplest form of medical and food supplies to get into gaza. there is another small issue that restricts the movements of people in their home land, there is this small issue of land being stolen, homes being destroyed, and the most basic human rights being violated. so please cut the nonsense saying much of the condemnation is coming from some jew hating crowd. it is coming from compassionate, level-headed, god fearing, humanity loving human beings.

Posted by Hassan | Report as abusive

The rabbinate is linked to all Israel’s woes. It is linked since Gamliel and Akiva and it is linked because it fails to admit why those Jews in Gaza lost Gaza. They blame it on politicians. Since I went ballistic over referencing G-d’s name to kill Palestinians, this sin has seemed to stop. However, equally bad is telling the soldiers to not have concern for women and children, letting the anti-Semites have a field day.

It is the rabbinical leadership that needs reorientation not the Israeli soldier who knows they have done wrong and scratch their head why the rabbinate gives criminal conduct its blessing.

Israel cannot survive with this reality. Can you have a theocratic nation without the rabbinate. Yes. Why do I say this? Because they will not set the record straight regarding the crimes against Rabbi Eliezer ben Hycranus and G-d. They will not overturn text in the Talmud that is an affront to G-d and Judaism. They continue to teach children improperly and rationalize everything they do as right. I have never heard or read about the rabbinical leadership ever saying they have done anything wrong.

This article attests to one major thing they have done wrong, and sadly said this is not an isolated case. Can the rabbinate take Israel on the right course. Yes. Will they? They haven’t done the right thing by Israel and Judaism in Israel for quite some time. When I see Israeli children, all of them, walking about with love in their hearts for G-d (not their rabbis) then I will know that Israel is moving on the right track.

There was no conquest per se of the Holy Land but a return of the Jews to it per G-d’s will.

Hate serves the agents of Satan: the Moabites. The rabbis also fell into the trap of further undermining
G-d and religion in Israel.

The Islamists carried out dozens of suicide bombings in Israel before and during a Palestinian uprising that erupted in 2000, blowing up buses and cafes.

I have high praise for the Islamic leadership — really high praise. That there is no new spate of terrorist attacks against Israel aligns itself with an enlightened Islamic religious leadership. Now who do you think I believe should administer the Holy City — the rabbis or the Islamic mullahs? Only if one stands with G-d and not with the rabbinical leadership can one face the truth in the correct answer to this question.

What did Hitler tell the German soldiers when they wiped out towns of Jews including women and children?


The only thing that happens if you are critical of Israel is that you are tagged as anti-semetic, so why bother?
Leave Israel and Palestine to sort their own mess. I’ll be writing to my MP and Prime Minister to demand they stop supporting Israel.

Posted by Peter H | Report as abusive

Thanks for your comment, Hassan. It’s important to note, in the sentence you cite, the following words: “…has been attributed in Israel…”. We are not, in Reuters, characterising those who criticise Israel’s offensive. We are reporting how they are characterised by many people in Israel.

Posted by Alastair Macdonald | Report as abusive

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