August 22: Soldiers and Facebook

The damage these Facebook people do – not necessarily to the prisoners in the photographs, but to Israel – is enormous.

Soldiers and Facebook
Sir, – Regarding “What Eden Abergil did wrong” (Editorial, August 19), the damage these Facebook people do – not necessarily to the prisoners in the photographs, but to Israel – is enormous.
In sensitive places all over the world, photography is forbidden.
Surely the time has come to ban any photographs being taken on army bases, if it isn’t already, and to punish soldiers who send out these stupid photographs and feed the hatred of our country.
Cameras, and phones with cameras, should be banned on all army facilities. Soldiers who smuggle them in and then send out pictures for all to see should be punished.
If they can’t see the seriousness of the damage they do to the good name of Israel, they should be discharged. These people are aiding the enemy in a time of war.
Sir, – I congratulate the Post on providing a podium for the odious views of Roi Maor and his like in “A picture is worth a thousand lives” (Comment, August 18). This is democracy and free speech at its best, the very values that would disappear if the forces represented by the prisoners Maor is so concerned about were to have their way.
There is an argument that states that the very few documented abuses by Israel’s security services pale when compared to the vast, continuing and ferocious crimes of our enemies. But this apparently means nothing to Maor.
Being blindfolded and supervised by an unarmed female soldier seems to me a minor denial of rights – a denial more than justified by the need to safeguard society against atrocious crimes. Posting the picture was bad taste and a disciplinary infraction, but it wasn’t a crime against rights.
Rosh Pina
Sir, – The “abusive” pictures show suspected terrorists waiting for interrogation and a not-so intelligent girl soldier sitting next to them. It is a huge leap for Roi Maor to go from this to his implication that the affair is as terrible as the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq by American and British soldiers.
Like Maor, a number of Western media outlets have adopted the usual knee-jerk condemnation of Israel. Like him, they also tried to compare our soldiers to theirs, if not actually making them out to be worse.
For the record, the girl did not lay a finger on any of the detainees. As far is known, she did not even speak to them. All she did, for her sins, was have a bunch of pictures taken so that she could show her friends on Facebook that she had served, face-to-face, with suspected terrorists.
She was, after all, smiling to put a brave face on what was undoubtedly an unpleasant experience.
From this perspective, the pictures look different. They show an Israeli soldier girl who was serving her country in a harsh environment, with men who were suspected of carrying out terror attacks against our civilians or belonging to a terror organization.
In that light, Maor should now judge the pictures.
Sir, – In “A picture is worth a thousand lives,” you show a photo from the Facebook profile of an IDF girl soldier “blowing a kiss” to a bound and blindfolded detainee.
The soldier is quoted as saying that it was “just a joke.”
Well, somebody should explain to this stupid and insensitive girl that a joke is when two people laugh. The army may have denounced her behavior, but judging by the recent and ongoing behavior of the current IDF top brass, the army’s comments do not instill much confidence.
Tarnished brass
Sir, – It’s difficult to fathom the continued prominence given by the Israeli media as to whether a proposed plan of action, allegedly prepared by a public relations firm for a potential candidate for IDF chief of General Staff, is genuine or a forgery (“Ashkenazi: I’ll have something to say after Galant investigation is over,” August 18).
The inference is that an aspirant for one of the highest and most sensitive positions in Israeli society should sit passively in anticipation that the powers-that- be recognize his superior qualities and select him. In this case, the concept that “the office seeks the man, and not the opposite” appears to be the height of naivety or even hypocrisy. The military has the most well defined hierarchy. Its officers are urged to strive for promotion and, if passed over, are eased out of the system.
They are trained to take the initiative to make things happen and not just wait and then react.
Even were the subject document found to be authentic and its recommendations considered unprofessional or unsportsmanlike, it would only reflect negatively on the firm that prepared it. Officers, like all managers, are encouraged to elicit various and even contradictory opinions from their advisors, to weigh and consider them and then decide on the tactic to be taken. It is possible that Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant had other advisors as well, and there is no allegation that he implemented any of the plan’s unsavory suggestions.
If, as presently believed, the paper was a forgery (“Police deem Galant Document a fake – report,” August 17), it would indicate a serious lack of moral standing on the part of those who released it. Should this morality be isolated to other contenders for the position, or to their supporters, it would additionally denote a severe lack of judgment bordering on stupidity.
Senior officers’ careers have been extensively reviewed and documented. It would thus be expected that the existence of such seriously negative traits should have long been detected.
The crucial concern is, how did they reach their present positions?
Sir, – Regarding “Outwardly worried” (Letters, August 18), where the writer wonders if anyone is guarding our borders, I can answer that unhesitatingly: Our wonderful, brave, much-maligned soldiers are doing their job 24/7 with love and dedication, regardless of the shameful bickerings of those above them.
Givat Ze’ev
Enlightenment provided
Sir, – I would like to enlighten Emanuel Fischer (“Enlightenment sought,” Letters, August 18) on why the State of Israel – the homeland of the Jewish people – should not banish the non-citizens who wish to remain here.
The Torah over and over again admonishes and instructs us, the Jewish nation, to treat the stranger kindly – not to hate, taunt or oppress him – and even to love him, for we were once strangers in a foreign land.
Compassion. Proper behavior.
Morals and ethics. It is the height of humanity to treat our present-day aliens with decency and respect, and not banish them from the land. This is how we, the people of the book, walk in the ways of God and are a light unto the nations.
Mevaseret Zion
Change US stance
Sir, – The support of Israel has unfortunately created major world problems for the US. Presidents have always tried to intervene in good faith, but Israel’s priority seems to be to build apartments first, then discuss peace. The Palestinians presently have no unity and no authoritative leader who can make any agreements.
The Israeli leadership has been content with the status quo in lieu of finding a solution. You cannot keep controlling the Palestinians forever. It’s my opinion that only Israel can create peace. Sacrifice and compromise are required, which many are presently unwilling to do.
Sun City West, Arizona