Chief of Staff Benny Gantz
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Gantz visits last IDF casualty's family, apologizes

Chief of staff apologizes to Yevgeny Tolochko's family after uproar over placing IDF flag on Jews' graves only; IDF Spokesperson: Protocol to change

IDF Chief of Staf Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz visited the family of the IDF's latest casualty, Yevgeny Tolochko, in Jerusalem on Monday.


The visit was arranged following the public uproar raised by a pre-Memorial Day ceremony in which a flag is placed on the grave of the latest Jewish IDF casualty in Mount Herzl.


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Gantz placed a flag on Lieutenant Colonel Shlomo Nitzani's grave and not on Tolochko's, who was buried in the plot of those whose Jewish status is in doubt.


גנץ בטקס הנחת הדגלון (צילום: גיל יוחנן)

Gantz at the ceremony (Photo: Gil Yohanan)


It was later revealed the protocol distinguishes between a Jewish casualty and a non-Jewish one, even if the latter was the most recent.


"From now on the chief of staff's flag will be placed on the latest military grave, added to the military plot in Mount Herzl regardless of who he is, in addition to the flag placed in the main plot," the IDF Spokesperson's Unit stated following the incident.


"In the chief of staff's viewpoint, there is no relation to the casualty's identity, circumstances of death, religion or sex," said the statement.


Gantz explained the incident to Tolochko's family and apologized, promising procedures will be changed.


The family announced it considers the matter closed. The family's representative, Attorney Avi Harel, said: "The chief of staff met with the family and in their opinion the affair is over, and there's no point in discussing it further.


"They are sorry some elements try to take advantage of their pain for other ends. The family trusts the IDF and the Defense Ministry to keep handling the issue and the family."


A relatives noted that Gantz treated them "nobly," and his visit "warmed the atmosphere and strengthened the family."



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פרסום ראשון: 04.15.13, 15:12
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