Casualties of war

The total number of Jews killed in conflict and by Arab terrorism since 1860, when Jews first started living outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, is 23,447.  This number is known accurately and is the official toll according to the Ministry of Defense. Of these, there are 4,917 widows and 1,948 orphans.  The Orphans and Widows Command of the IDF takes care of these orphans and organizes camps, visits and bar- and bat-mitzvahs for them.  This toll is very high, but is approximately the number murdered in one day at Auschwitz when it was at its worst.  Only in our small country of Israel is the Day of Remembrance for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism (Yom Hazikaron) held the day before Independence Day (Yom Ha’atzmaut) on May 11/12.

It is said that the first casualty of war is truth.  In a candid interview with The New York Times, Ben Rhodes, a former assistant and foreign policy adviser to Pres. Obama, admitted that he and the Administration had lied in their presentation of the Iran nuclear deal.  They had stated that there had been interactions and understandings with Iranian officials, when in fact no such interactions had occurred.   This would not be the first time that a President or his operatives have lied to the press and the American people, but it is an egregious case, since the whole basis of the nuclear deal was that the Iranians were purported to be “reasonable” and “rational” people and thus the deal was justified.  Of course, this was counter to what all the opponents to the deal believed, that the Iranian Ayatollahs were and are totally untrustworthy.  This was certainly the case argued by PM Benjamin Netanyahu, including in his famous speech to the US Congress that received great criticism from the Obama Administration.  So now we know that the basis for that infamous deal was based more on the faith of Pres. Obama than on reality.

One casualty of the current situation should be Major General Yair Golan, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF, who grossly over-stepped himself when he stated in a speech at the National Holocaust (Shoah) ceremony in Jerusalem last week that the current situation in Israel resembles that of pre-war Germany .  Not only is this wrong and inaccurate in all respects, but it is insulting to the memory of the Holocaust itself and its victims, as well as being well beyond the bounds of acceptable comment for a civil servant, let alone a high-ranking Officer.  PM Netanyahu has strongly criticized Golan’s statement, as has most media reaction.  But, Defense Minister Ya’alon has supported him, saying that his comments were misunderstood and taken out of context.  Since then Golan has tried to “clarify” his comments and has tried unsuccessfully to retract them.  In my opinion Golan should either be fired or severely reprimanded, not only for the content of his speech, but also for saying anything remotely political and  controversial.  Of course, his speech was pounced on by the many enemies of Israel to justify their own anti-Israel opinions. Whatever his private opinions, an IDF Officer is not allowed in principle to express them in a public speech, and particularly those opinions in relation to the commemoration of the Holocaust.  Can his judgement be trusted?


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