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Photo: Avi Roccah
PM's envoy Lior Lotan. There are no angels in this job
Photo: Avi Roccah
Yoaz Hendel

Lior Lotan is one of the good guys

Op-ed: The Mangisto affair must not be turned into an ethnic or strategic issue; it's the story of a weak family with a lost son who crossed the fence into Gaza out of his own free will.

Lior Lotan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy on hostages and missing persons, was wrong in the way he spoke to the Mangisto family. He was wrong in the content and style of his words. There are no angels in this job, only people who make a great effort to bring captives and missing people back home.

  

 

Lotan is one of the good guys, even after he was recorded speaking that way. I have no intention of interpreting why he spoke that way that day, why he wasn't more sensitive and attentive. I am very familiar with that military tone and dictation. I suffer from a bit of that myself sometimes in the least appropriate places. It's part of the Israeli house of study. Sometimes it's for the best, sometimes for the worst.

 

Lotan apologized, and that's a good thing. It's over. He has done enough good things in his life for the captives and missing soldiers in order for us to hold a serious debate about the affair itself, and not about one mistake.

 

There are those who want to turn this story into an ethnic matter and present Lotan's tone as proof of that. That's foolish. The Mangisto story is the story of a weak family with a lost son who crossed the fence into Gaza out of his own free will. If you wish, it's about a person who decided to end his life due to mental issues.

 

Avraham Mangisto is not a captive soldier and not a terror incident, but a humanitarian case which Israel should do everything to help with, but it must not be turned into a strategic issue under any circumstances.

 

Lotan's job is to represent the state sensitively and balance between both sides' interests; dismissing him over his insensitivity won't solve the conflict of interests (Photos: AP, Roee Idan) (Photo: AP, Roee Idan)
Lotan's job is to represent the state sensitively and balance between both sides' interests; dismissing him over his insensitivity won't solve the conflict of interests (Photos: AP, Roee Idan)

 

The gap between the family and Lior Lotan and the government's representative is part of the problem. The family should do everything in its power to get the government and the public opinion on its side. The government, and especially its leader, should do everything in its power not to repeat the mistakes made in the Shalit deal, to stop the foolishness of releasing terrorists.

 

The conflict of interests is clear. Hamas can be pressured, it can be offered economic aid or reconstruction in return for the release, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot be the Netanyahu of the Shalit deal.

 

And from now on, we should also stop the conspiracy theories. Netanyahu did not send Lotan to talk to the family that way. He can be accused of failing to pay attention to the family until the story reached the media, but he cannot be accused of intentional alienation.

 

Everyone wants to see Avraham Mangisto back in Israel, safe and sound. The state's job is to distinguish between desires and emotions and the national needs.

 

It's true that the Mangisto family is a weakened family, and it's possible that a different family, from a different ethnic group and from a different city, would have already created a commotion. I hope that after the price of the Shalit deal and the dramatic change in Operation Protective Edge, the pressure would have been curbed between Lior Lotan and the government.

 

Lotan's job is to represent the state sensitively and balance between both sides' interests. He was very wrong in the first part, and he apologized. Those who think that dismissing him will solve the conflict of interests don't really have those interests in mind – neither the state's interests nor the Mangisto family's interests.

 


פרסום ראשון: 07.13.15, 20:30
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