Photo: Amikam Horesh
Madhat Yousef. 'Decade of shirking responsibility'
Photo: Amikam Horesh
Aviva Shalit at the memorial
Photo: Mohammad Shinawi
Mehdi Yousef. 'Leadership with values needed'
Photo: Mohammad Shinawi
MK Arieh Eldad. 'Establish commission inquiry'
Photo: Mohammad Shinawi

Memorial for Druze soldier evokes piercing criticism of leadership

Madhat Yousef, left by IDF to bleed to death after being wounded in action guarding Joseph's Tomb 10 years ago, remembered at ceremony attended by captive soldier Gilad Shalit's mother, Aviva. His brother Mehdi reads letter for Shalit, asserting same leadership who abandoned Madhat is abandoning Gilad

Hundreds of people took part on Friday in memorial ceremonies marking a decade since the death of Madhat Yousef in Beit Jan. The ceremonies were launched under the title "A decade of pain and shirking responsibility." Captive soldier Gilad Shalit's mother, Aviva took part in the memorial.


Yousef was wounded in battle in Nablus as he guarded Joseph's Tomb, and he bled to death as he lay there for hours. The IDF relied on the Palestinians to evacuate the wounded soldier, and thus did not send in a rescue team.


Many of the speakers at the memorial ceremony connected between the abandonment of Yousef in the field and the government's inactivity in securing the release of Shalit.


Mehdi Yousef, Madhat's older brother, read a letter to Gilad Shalit written as if it were from his slain brother.


"Gilad, my brother, If I could send you good news, if I could tell you that there are leaders here with values, if I could tell you that there are other commanders and ministers here than those who abandoned me, I would do so. I can tell you that the will release you, and your release is closer than ever. This is the will of the people who understand values, and not deals.


"You were wounded and kidnapped while fulfilling your duty to the country, guarding its borders and citizens. The country has violated its duty towards you because the people do not want a Madhat Yousef 2."

Aviva Shalit with Madhat's family (Photo: Mohammad Shinawi)


Mehdi continued on elsewhere in the letter, "Even if the country's leaders close their eyes, the people will not let them do so. A country that presumes to be a military power unlike any other will liberate you, release you with all means necessary. We just need leadership – leadership with values.


"If there had been a courageous leader who understands values on October 1, 2000, like the leader who will secure your release, you would already have children that would make our parents happy, instead of the sorrow and pain that will be with them forever."


Chairman of the Shalit release campaign, Shimshon Liebman, said at the memorial, "Madhat's death has become a stain on the IDF's and Israeli society's moral identity card. His death has become a warning sign to us, to our forces, to our belief in not abandoning soldiers in the field that guides us unlike our neighbors.


Liebman added, "Our moral force stems from the place in which we are willing to do everything in order to not to leave a fighter in the battlefield or in captivity."


'Open wound likely to become cancerous growth'

Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National Union) called for a state commission of inquiry to be established to investigate the circumstances leading to Madhat Yousef's death.


"This case is an open wound in the IDF and Israeli society. If a wound remains exposed for years, it is liable to turn into a cancerous growth," said MK Eldad.


"The time has come for everyone who was there, from the division commander who today serves as the deputy chief of staff to the prime minister via Defense Minister Ehud Barak to rise up and say: 'We made a mistake. We learned our lessons.' However, this simple action is not happening. In the past 10 years, not enough has been done by the decision makers of that time to repent for the sin. The same decision makers are currently sitting at the regime's helm."


Organizing the event was the group Al Tafkir, which was established following the incident at Joseph's Tomb. Singer Ruhama Raz, whose sister Miriam was murdered in a terrorist attack on the Bus 405 en route to Jerusalem, performed at the event. The terrorist responsible for the attack that claimed her sister's life is slated to be released in a prisoner swap deal for Shalit.


Raz said, "The lesson from Madhat's death has not been learned. If it had been, Gilad would already be home. The State of Israel is not so weak; it knows what to do with these terrorists after it releases them."



פרסום ראשון: 10.01.10, 14:20
 new comment
This will delete your current comment