Former defense minister Moshe Yaalon.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In the wake of the firestorm raging over the Hebron shooting of a downed attacker by an IDF soldier, and the soldier's subsequent arrest, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon fired back on Tuesday against attacks from right-wing ministers and politicians who accused him and senior IDF commanders of abandoning soldiers.
During visit to IDF Central Command, Ya'alon told commanders that it is their duty to "prevent dark winds fro the outside to influence us," adding, "There is a struggle here over the character and image of the state of Israel, and Israeli society, in a way that influences the IDF.
It is important that the IDF remains as a stable anchor, and that it continues to safeguard norms and values." Ya'alon, who toured the Central Command's headquarters in north Jerusalem, said Thursday's Shooting incident generated an "ugly wave, and it is important to keep the IDF away from this ugly wave, which is being caused by an extreme minority or political elements."
The defense minister criticized what he called "confusion and impassioned" sentiments, and the intervention of "unprofessional elements" in the debate over rules of engagement. "What is happening now is not not helpful.
The defense establishment has to remain stable when facing down [to the lower ranks]. We provide support to soldiers and commanders, unless they transgress from the values and the law.
Those who support a soldier who sinned, according to the view of his commanders, is not giving support to the soldier's commanders, from the lower rank and to the chief of staff, and is harming the military, and national strength." Commanders must maintain military professionalism during talks and briefs "down to the last soldier in the command," Ya'alon added.