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Photo: Gil Yochanan
Reservists marching
Photo: Gil Yochanan
War protest growing
(VIDEO) IDF reserve soldiers, bereaved families want political, military leaders to resign in wake of war
VIDEO - Protest against Lebanon war widens: IDF reserve soldiers are embarking on a protest march, letters and petitions are being sent to senior political and military leaders, and bereaved families are also voicing their criticism, as calls for top officials to resign in the wake of the war in Lebanon continue to grow.

 

Reservists' protest rally (Video: EddyBoy) (צילום: סטודיו אדיבוי)

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Bereaved parents who lost their children in the war have embarked on a long march in memory of Egoz unit fighter Rafanel Muskal, killed at the beginning of the war. His father, Moshe Muskal, told Ynet: "It started as a march in memory of Rafanel…at the end, on Mount Herzl, we'll be demanding the prime minister's resignation, because even if this war had objectives, they were not achieved, and he must bear the responsibility."

 

The bereaved father has already sent a letter on the matter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

 

"Many parents who lost their sons in the war will join us," Muskal said, noting that the inability to secure the release of the abducted soldiers, the apparently temporary quiet on the northern border, and the loss of IDF life combine to constitute a failure.

 

"There are some here who see the snow on Mount Hermon (on the northern border) and think it's the Alps. They must realize there's a cruel enemy out there that must be defeated," he said, and added that many others have joined his call on the PM to quit.

 

"Olmert is being asked to go home without any commissions of inquiry and no PR spins. This demand is taking on a wide scope and it appears the entire nation is with us," Muskal said.

 

Should Olmert not resign, Muskal and other bereaved family members intend to arrive at the PM's Office in Jerusalem next week and stay there "until he realizes he must go home."

 

Meanwhile, parents to soldiers currently performing their regular military service are also initiating efforts to protest the conduct of the prime minister, defense minister, and top IDF officials.

 

Yisrael Yagal, 52, whose four sons serve in elite IDF units, wrote Olmert, Peretz, and Halutz, charging them with failing to perform their job.

 

"You didn't deliver the basic goods – defending Israeli residents," he wrote. "When the failure is big, there's no choice but to resign. Let others to carry out the difficult tasks."

 

'The protest is a good thing'

Elsewhere, reserve soldiers Ronny Zvigenbaum, 27, and Asaf Davidov, 28, embarked on a march Monday to the Prime Minister's Office along with other troops from their regiment. The protesters held up signs reading: "Citizens of Israel, our brothers, we must get out of the bubble."

 

The reserve soldiers said Olmert, Peretz and Halutz should take the initiative and resign now.

 

One of the protesters, Lior Dinamez, told Ynet those who managed the Lebanon war should pack up their bags and leave. Another reserve soldier said: "We want to protest what happened in Lebanon. We were stuck without equipment and food…orders changed every few hours, and we want those responsible to pay the price."

 

Former Shin Bet Director Carmi Gillon, who today heads the local council at Mevaseret Zion near Jerusalem, was also present at the event and backed the protesters.

 

Meanwhile, three reserve soldiers' groups are intending to join forces and hold a convention where they will be demanding the security establishment take steps to draw lessons from the war, while also taking steps against any military officer who failed in preparing the army for the conflict.

 

"The protest is a good thing, but we must direct it to a channel that will also bring results," one group representative said. "Otherwise, all the letters will be forgotten in two or three days.

 

Hanan Greenberg contributed to the report

 

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