Wikipedia deletes entry on killing of Border Police officer

The entry was deleted due to Wikipedia "being an encyclopedia rather than a memorial site," according to one Wikipedia editor.

 Wikipedia webpage in use on a laptop computer is seen in this photo illustration taken in Washington, January 17, 2012 (photo credit: REUTERS/GARY CAMERON)
Wikipedia webpage in use on a laptop computer is seen in this photo illustration taken in Washington, January 17, 2012
(photo credit: REUTERS/GARY CAMERON)

Editors on the Hebrew version of the Wikipedia website voted on Tuesday to delete the article on the August 2021 killing of St.-Sgt. Barel Haderia Shmueli.

The entry, titled "Killing of Barel Shmueli," was deleted due to Wikipedia "being an encyclopedia rather than a memorial site," according to one Wikipedia editor.

Shmueli, a sniper in the Yamas undercover Border Police Unit, succumbed to gunshot wounds inflicted by a Palestinian gunman during border riots near Gaza.

During a heated debate held between Wikipedia editors prior to a vote, one editor argued that the incident was "blown out of proportion."

"While it is very saddening a soldier was killed, thousands of IDF soldiers have unfortunately died before him," the editor stated. 

"We cannot write about every soldier or civilian killed in operational activities," another Wiki editor added. He argued that "keeping the entry online is essentially offensive to all those who did not have articles written on them."

 21-year-old St.-Sgt. Bar-el Shmueli from Beer Yaakov, shot by a Palestinian militant during Gaza border riots (credit: BORDER POLICE) 21-year-old St.-Sgt. Bar-el Shmueli from Beer Yaakov, shot by a Palestinian militant during Gaza border riots (credit: BORDER POLICE)

Some Wiki editors argued for keeping the article on the site, stating the article alludes to a topic "bigger than Barel Shmueli."

After a vote that saw 46 people vote to delete the entry while 33 voted against, one editor responded to the vote results in a frustrated manner, stating that those who voted to delete "should be ashamed, voting against our hero who has sacrificed his life."

Hila Rahimi, sister of the late Border Police officer, followed the Wikipedia vote and commented on the results on Facebook, comparing the entry's removal to a "spit in the face."

Interestingly, the English-language article of the killing of Shmueli is still available to read on Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Israel, a subsidiary of the global Wikimedia Foundation, released a statement on the removal of the article, stating it does not wish to intervene in decisions relating to Wikipedia entries.

"The community of editors determines which articles meet the criteria to be suitable for Wikipedia. Wikipedia is run in a completely transparent manner and the criteria, as well as the discussions and arguments raised for and against deleting the entry, are available to read online," the statement reads.