Thursday, May 14, 2015

From Facebook:

I'm breaking the silence. Here is my report, continuing an important initiative under the Hashtag #האמת_שלי (Hebrew for #My_Truth).
Beit Hanoun, the Gaza Strip, 2006. Operation "Autumn's Clouds". We're entering a home. At the entrance, we meet a man and his wife. We take them to a side room and offer them something to drink. We ask the man if he has anything to do with Hamas. "No, of course not, we have no connection to them." Then we ask if they have any weapons in their home. "No, of course not," he replies. The team stays at the house for a few hours. Before leaving it, soldiers who stayed in one of the rooms decide to move the couch, revealing an explosive device aimed at detonating armored vehicles. The man is safe and sound.
Beit Hanoun, the Gaza Strip, 2006. Operation "Autumn's Clouds". We are searching for weapons in the town center (Kasbah) and are advancing from one house to the other. In one of them, a middle-aged civilian man doesn’t feel well. Our medic, Roi, diagnoses possible heart problems. We halt the weapons search and advancing to other houses so that Roi can treat him. With the assistance of the man's daughter, a fluent English speaker, we call the Red Crescent and prolong our stay in his home, thereby exposing and endangering ourselves even further.
Shortly after we hear a powerful boom and shrapnel flies all around. An IDF team from an adjacent team operating nearby who has not received word that we are still providing emergency medical treatment to the man in the previous house accidentally activates a break-in device on the door of the home just a few meters from us. It is a miracle that nobody is injured.
Zaytoun neighborhood, the Gaza Strip, 2009. Operation Cast Lead”. My team is ordered to take control of an apartment building home to a prominent Hamas operative was living there with his family. The IDF could have easily bombed it from the air but we endanger ourselves and search the building by foot. On the second floor, in the in the parents bedroom there is a large clothes cabinet with a big mirror over it. In a compartment in the cabinet we find grenade launchers, mortar shells, hand guns, rifles, hand grenades, army vests, two-way radios, cell-phones and thousands of bullets.
In the backyard we find two rocket launchers nestled between the olive trees, likely where the sons of the Hamas operative play. In a corner of the yard is a suspicious hut, which, upon searching it, we identify as a factory for assembling rockets. The hut is filled with rockets, explosive devices, fertilizers used for preparing explosives and Arabic manuals for assembling and launching rockets - all this in a private home in which the operative lives with his wife and children. Though the IDF had strong suspicions about what we will find in the home, all of which – and more - ultimately proves to be true, the house is not bombed from the air. IDF soldiers – myself and my team – are dispatched to search the house, thereby minimalizing damage to property and Hamas.
I'm writing here after sitting and reading dozens of pages of anonymous testimonies given by "Breaking the Silence" which, like many other testimonies are out of context, lack proof, do not explain the complexities of war and ignore the reality of Hamas’ cynical use of civilians. They are simply ignorance and another opportunity to bash Israeli soldiers.
There are stories that are a thousand times more heroic than mine. I am not looking for, nor do I need, any attention. I'm doing this because I am proud of the IDF, I have full trust in the soldiers who fought beside me, and I believe in their high standard of morality. I refuse to allow a tiny, anonymous minority, to slander the IDF. I am aware of mistakes and errors conducted by soldiers in the battlefield. These cases represent a tiny fraction of Israeli soldiers. They are an exception and do not represent IDFs soldiers and officers – including myself - in any way.
It is about time we Israelis scrape off our cynicism and start telling our personal stories. “Breaking the Silence” does not tell my story. I recently had the chance to share my story in the U.S. on the StandWithUs Israeli Soldiers Tour. Israeli soldiers: share your story and add the hashtag #האמת_שלי #My_Truth.
In the picture: Entering the home of the Hamas terrorist that was not bombed from the air, Zaytoun, Gaza.


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