תגרה אלימה בעיר העתיקה בחברון
The incident in Hebron in which IDF soldier rescued a Palestinian from settlers
Effi Lochem, the Golani soldier who rescued the Palestinian in Hebron

IDF soldier who saved Palestinian deserves Medal of Honor

Opinion: The Golani soldier who rescued a Palestinian man from a group of settlers in Hebron is an example of maintaining one's humanity toward people over whom you're exercising control; IDF's chief of staff and defense minister must award this brave man

Ben-Dror Yemini |
Published: 06.17.20 , 13:43
Exercising control over other people is complicated, and Israel’s control over the Palestinians is complicated even more.
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  • Extremists on both sides of the political spectrum propose mostly simplistic solutions to resolving the issue of occupation.
    אפי לוחם גולני שהציל את הפלסטיני בחברוןאפי לוחם גולני שהציל את הפלסטיני בחברון
    Effi Lochem, the Golani soldier who rescued the Palestinian in Hebron
    On the one end of the spectrum are the proponents of the "end the occupation" movement. They live under the illusion that an agreement with the Palestinians is within reach, or that we can simply up and leave the West Bank the same way we left the Gaza Strip. The problem is that Gaza didn't turn into Singapore after the disengagement as those on the left had hoped, instead becoming another Iran.
    On the other end of the spectrum are the supporters of "The Greater Israel," who do not care if Israel becomes an apartheid state as a result of the occupation.
    The majority of Israeli public, however, understands there is no easy fix to this problem.
    The reality of the situation is grim, especially if you consider that the Palestinian leadership has repeatedly refused to accept a two-state solution based on 1967 borders and not 1947 ones, which is what they still dream of.
    As a result, Israel is forced to keep its presence in the area because that's the only solution we have at the moment. The only question is how do you rule over another nation in the most humane way possible?
    תגרה אלימה בעיר העתיקה בחברוןתגרה אלימה בעיר העתיקה בחברון
    The incident in Hebron in which IDF soldier rescued a Palestinian from settlers
    Various human rights organizations spread propaganda that Israeli soldiers are the closest thing to imperialistic troops, who shoot at Palestinians with machine guns for the heck of it, as well as other similar drivel.
    Often time these groups would post an occasional video, with no background or explanation, showing the "ugly Israeli." Mostly these videos are taken out of context, and even when they don't, we just have to deal with it because every nation has a few bad apples and they don't represent the IDF as a whole.
    Last Friday, we were exposed to yet another video showing the "ugly Israeli," which showed a group of hooligan Jews attacking a Palestinian, apparently for no reason.
    A Golani soldier, who saw the incident happening from afar, left his position, confronted the hooligans, got beaten up himself, but he did not give up and did not give in.
    At the end of the fight, he rescued the Palestinian from the wicked hands. His picture has been widely publicized after the event. The soldier whose parents immigrated from Ethiopia - a pride of Israel. A national hero.
    תגרה אלימה בעיר העתיקה בחברוןתגרה אלימה בעיר העתיקה בחברון
    Lochem fending off the attackers
    Because this soldier made it clear to all of us that even in the complicated reality of exercising control over another group of people, our humanity can be maintained.
    And he is not alone.
    A Likud member, a father of another soldier, told me that recently on a very wintry night, his son and his friends chased after a group of Palestinian teens who threw rocks.
    When they caught one on the kids, he was shaking, not from fear but from cold. The soldiers took off his winter coat and covered the young man.
    I asked the dad if he was proud of his son, "of course," he told me. but there were no security cameras around during that incident so there is no proof that his son was also a hero.
    To this day, soldiers have only received medals and citations for directly engaging the enemy. Now, it's time for military awards to be given for resourcefulness and humanity vis-à-vis those we control.
    Because these types of incidents are something to learn from. Because every soldier must know that these are norms that Israel adheres to.
    Humanity is heroism too. The ball is in your court - Golani Brigade Commander, Col. Ghassan Alian, Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Give this soldier a Medal of Honor.
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