(photo credit: REUTERS)
The High Court rejected on Sunday a petition submitted by the bereaved parents
of St.-Sgt. Kobi Smileg, who was killed in the Battle of Bint Jbail during the
Second Lebanon War on July 24, 2006.
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The petition, submitted by Eliezer
and Flora Smileg in July 2009, asked the court to order disciplinary action be
taken against Maj. Eli Michelson, who they claim did not do enough to save their
Smileg was killed near the southern Lebanese Hezbollah stronghold of
Bint Jbail after the tank he was driving was hit by an anti-tank
Smileg served in the same tank as the battalion commander
leading the battle.
The tank had entered the combat zone at the head of a
large force that was sent to save wounded soldiers, when it was itself fired
Both Smileg and the battalion commander were injured, and
Michelson, who was in another tank, took control of the rescue
Despite Michelson’s efforts, the evacuation, which was conducted
under heavy fire, took three hours, and Smileg was announced dead by the
The parents based their petition on a report issued by
an investigative committee headed by Maj.-Gen.
Gershon Hacohen, who
submitted the findings to then- Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi
a month before the parents filed their petition.
The report detailed a
list of Michelson’s alleged professional and moral failures, stating that any
discussion on Michelson’s promotion must take the report’s findings into
However, a later investigation into Michelson’s actions by a
special investigatory commission that convened in response to a request by
Smileg’s parents, found that “the deputy battalion commander acted according to
IDF protocol and did what was expected of him considering the
Nevertheless, the parents filed the petition asking the
court to intervene in the chief of staff’s decision not to discipline
The state opposed the petition, saying that the decision not
to discipline Michelson was reached after extensive investigation that found the
accusations to be unjustified, adding that a professional decision was made by
the IDF commander, and therefore, the court had no cause to
Justice Eliezer Rivlin sided with the state, ruling that
Ashkenazi’s decision was reached in a reasonable way, after sufficient
examination of the incident, and could not justify intervention by the
“There is no doubt in our hearts that the petitioners are pained
not only by the death of their beloved son, but also by the knowledge of his
final hours,” Rivlin wrote. “The heartfelt words of Mr. Smileg in the hearing
held before us penetrated our hearts.
“The humane desire is to ease the
pain of the petitioners.
However, our power is limited. We have no power
to intervene in a decision that doesn’t exceed reasonable bounds,” Rivlin
continued. “The battle where their son fell was a courageous one. Nothing will
bring back what they lost. The legal front has limits of its own.”