I am not personally familiar with Lieutenant Colonel Shalom Eisner. I don’t know whether he’s tall or short and I have no idea whether he’s a distinguished combat soldier or what political views he subscribes to. I do know that had it been up to me, I would send him packing for stupidity alone.
In the 21st Century any IDF officer, regardless of rank or post, must take as a given the fact that cameras are everywhere and that many people and organizations seek to tarnish the IDF’s image.
Under such state of affairs, with every image making its way to thousands of television stations worldwide, one needs no more than a moderate IQ to realize that any unusual action by an IDF officer would resonate across the world and cause grave damage to the State of Israel’s reputation and image.
It may be hard to advice Eisner to show restraint in the face of provocation, yet this was precisely the desire of the protestors: To create a provocation so that he would strike a demonstrator and taint the IDF’s name worldwide.
What Lieutenant Colonel Eisner failed to grasp was immediately grasped by our prime minister, defense minister, IDF chief of staff and others, who sought to quell the fire taking shape on television, on the radio and in the press. They acted quickly in order to minimize the damage and show the world an effort to probe the affair and draw conclusions.
Ignore the protestors
Another question that needs to be addressed is whether it is appropriate and wise to act this way in the face of hundreds of protestors seeking to disturb the peace. My own answer is “no.”
Thousands of protests have already taken place in Israel and in the territories, and more are likely to come. As long as we have no information about something unusual, the right approach in my view is to ignore them.
How many protests have we heard or read about in the past year? Almost none, because nothing happened. It’s the protestors who want to make headlines.
Someone in the government, in the IDF and in our other security agencies must think well about the right modus operandi so that leftist protestors won’t prompt IDF officers to act foolishly. After all, we can apparently expect more incidents of this type in the near future.