IDF feels vindicated by acquittal

Senior officers hope clearing Captain R.'s name will also clear IDF's reputation.

While the acquittal of Capt. R clears his name, senior IDF officers expect it also will clear the military's reputation. The general feeling in the IDF, if there could be such a thing, was one of vindication. Among senior officers in the IDF spokesman unit, for example, there was enormous anger toward certain media outlets, in general, and specific journalists, in particular, for conducting what they called a "witch hunt" against Capt. R. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shmuel Zakai, the former commander of the Gaza Division during the incident who had vehemently defended the actions of the captain, told friends in the IDF on Tuesday that he had been correct all along in his support of the officer. According to IDF officers, Zakai blasted his former superiors for caving in to the enormous media pressure generated over the affair. One officer in the Southern Command said the verdict shows that the concept of "verifying the kill" exists only in the minds of the media and not on the ground. There was also criticism of the IDF Military Police for being pressured by the media in investigating the issue despite recommendations to the contrary by superior commanders. Judge-Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avi Mendelblatt and the chief IDF prosecutor, Col. Liron Leibman, put their reputation on the line by pushing through with the prosecution. What this verdict does to their careers remains to be seen. Senior officers said Capt. R will certainly be embraced now by the IDF and brought back to command. In any event, the army expects the storm to be fleeting and the whole issue forgotten by the weekend.