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April 24, 2012 3:36 pm

The Lessons of the Eisner Affair

avatar by Yoel Meltzer

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Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner.

Although watching a young Danish tourist getting whacked in the face by an M16 rifle is certainly not a pleasant sight, viewing the slightly extended video of the incident made my blood boil. For rather than being engaged in the normal activities that soldiers are engaged in, Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner and his comrades had to deal with what appeared to be an obviously planned provocation: crowds of people all around, large signs saying “Stop Ethnic Cleansing,” flashing cameras everywhere and sneering cyclists refusing to disperse.

Thus, it came as no surprise that when one of these “innocent” young chaps decided to bump into a soldier with his bicycle and initiate the whole fracas, a very good soldier fell for the trap.

The whole incident is sickening for several reasons. For starters, these people take advantage of the fact that only in Israel – not in America, not in a European country and certainly not in an Arab country – can they get away with such nonsense. They know this and they flaunt it in our face.

However, much more infuriating is the fact that we even let such people into our country in the first place. Don’t we have any self respect? Then, on top of this, rather than having the police who are trained for such ordeals deal with the whole mess, we foolishly dump it on our soldiers.

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Yet the most irritating of all is how several of our illustrious political and military leaders were quick to condemn Shalom Eisner. One can only wonder in cynicism if these same people, as well as the others who quickly denounced Eisner, lifted a voice in protest or shed a tear when viewing the events in Amona a few years back, a particularly gory affair that in comparison made the recent event look like a Lassie episode.

Placing the anger and frustration aside, for anyone who is interested in fighting for the truth in a world that has seemingly gone mad, there are some very important lessons that can be learned from the event.

Technological era

The first is to be aware of the age we live in, namely a highly technological era where any amateur can film an event and broadcast it to millions via YouTube, Facebook or the like. This simply cannot be ignored. Thus, Eisner’s statement that for a soldier it’s more important to complete his mission than to worry about how he looks while performing it – although true in a perfect world – is naïve given the current reality.

The second lesson is that although the army is full of many idealistic, highly motivated soldiers, the real power in the IDF is in the hands of those who are influenced by the same Western-liberal values that are prevalent in other areas of Israeli society. Thus, it makes no difference that most Israelis would want someone like Eisner with them if they headed into battle, especially after his heroics in recovering a dead body from a tank in the Second Lebanon War. In today’s reality, Lieutenant Colonel Eisner was pronounced guilty by the head of the IDF the moment the very brief video hit YouTube.

Finally, despite the presence of more and more Likud MKs who are nationalistic and idealistic, not only have they been unable to cause a real change of direction by the party but they have been powerless in preventing Benjamin Netanyahu from pulling the party towards the Left – including his declaration of support for the creation of a Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria and the placement of the defense ministry in the hands of an anti-settlement politician.

Thus, in order to effect a real change in this country, people of vision who are honestly concerned about the greater good of the Jewish people must aspire to take over key positions of influence. Otherwise, despite their significant presence amongst the rank and file members, nothing is going to change.

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  • Lawrence Kulak

    I fully stand by Lt. Eisner’s statment that it is more important to carry out the mission than how you look and would like to assert that it is the author Mr. Meltzer -rather than Lt. Eisner who is the naive one here. Just because you have provocatuers with video cameras trying to create an incident does not mean that the army should compromise one iota in how they handle situations. What would happen for instance if they were filming a real live terrorist incident? Should the IDF be considering the cameras or their tactical training. This whole thing is absurd. Eisner did nothing wrong.

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