Following Nabi Saleh Attack, IDF Sgt. Condemns Radical Left-Wing Activists
Sgt. Benjamin Anthony (IDF Res.), a veteran of the 2006 Lebanon War and founder and director of the NGO, Our Soldiers Speak, has condemned the radical Israeli Left for depriving Israeli soldiers of even the “most basic means” of self defense.
Anthony established Our Soldiers Speak in 2007; the NGO specializes in bringing IDF soldiers and officers to the campuses and communities of the English-speaking world. He told Tazpit that a soldier’s position should never be compromised.
A viral video showing an Israeli soldier being surrounded and attacked by women and children in the village of Nabi Saleh — while the soldier was attempting to apprehend a boy who had been throwing rocks — renewed the debate on defensive measures permissible to soldiers.
Unaware of the potential threats approaching from behind, the soldier did not seek to defend himself, despite the fact that he was armed with a machine gun.
With the women and children seemingly unintimidated by his ability to fire, the soldier absorbed a series of blows, while frantically calling for support from a comrade in the distance.
Describing the occurrence as “disgraceful,” Interior Minister Miri Regev argued in the Knesset, “We must immediately order that a soldier under attack be able to return fire. Period.”
However, other observers with prior experience in the field have opined that situations such as these need not reach the point that they require fire.
“No soldier should ever be in a position where he is surrounded, with a machine gun over his shoulder, and somebody gets within arm’s length of him,” Anthony told Tazpit.
Anthony went on to lambaste the Israeli Left, attributing to its members much responsibility for such incidents. “The Left is so deeply entrenched in these efforts to undermine the activities of the IDF,” he said. “They would say, ‘We want to protect Palestinian rights,’ but in that video they are clearly willing to place an Israeli soldier’s life in mortal danger.”
He added, “It would have only taken one man or woman for the soldier to be in a situation where his machine gun is taken off him and he is led off to who knows where. And this is with Israeli activists in the middle of it all. You can’t have that. Israelis need to be held accountable.”
In this context, Anthony raised an incident in 2012 that sparked international condemnation — when Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner was filmed shoving his gun into the face of Andreas Ayas, a Danish protester. “He was then indicted; had his advancement opportunities in the Israeli army totally curtailed, permanently; and was criticized in the Israeli press. Now you have a situation where soldiers are not willing to defend themselves even with the most basic means of self -defense,” Anthony asserted.