Bereaved parents scold MKs in Knesset Protective Edge talks
As committee convenes to discuss State Comptroller's critical Operation Protective Edge report with PM Netanyahu, anger and emotions erupt into confrontations with Lt. Hadar Goldin's mother spurning one Likud MK: 'Shame on you all...You insolent man'; One father of fallen soldier vents at his son’s death: tells Likud members to ‘sit quietly,’ yells at Joint List MK to 'go join Barghouti on his hunger strike. Why are you even here?'
Leah Goldin, the mother of fallen soldier Lt. Hadar Goldin, laid into the government on Wednesday afternoon during a Knesset meeting on State Comptroller Yosef Shapira's Operation Protective Edge report.
Holding back the tears, Leah told those present, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that “My son has gone from being a heroic fighter to a debt of a body (that the state needs to pay). Shame on you all.”
Tensions mounted when she accused the prime minister of turning "us into an enemy of the people,” prompting Likud MK Miki Zohar to intervene. "It's not ok what you are saying and it is an exaggeration."
Turning to Zohar, Mrs. Goldin said: "You don't answer. Don't answer! I wasn't asking you. I don't even know your name. You insolent man. Be quiet!” she shouted as she threw a cup of water at him.
It was not the first time Zohar and other Likud MKs had been admonished by family members who had suffered the loss of their children in Protective Edge.
A father of an IDF soldier killed in the operation launched into a verbal tirade against Likud members almost immediately after the talks got underway.
Addressing one of the central contentions of Shapira’s report that the cabinet was not sufficiently updated on the tunnel threat, committee Chairwoman MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid) began the discussion by asking Netanyahu about the extent to which the cabinet was involved in the decision-making process during the 2014 Gaza incursion.
Much to the outrage of MK Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Zohar, the two immediately jumped to the prime minister’s defense, insisting that the prevalence of leaks compelled Netanyahu to conceal paramount information from the porous cabinet.
“If there were no leaks, things would have been shared with the cabinet,” the two shouted, setting the tone for much of the dialogue that then ensued, as Illan Sagi, a bereaved father, told them to “respect us and sit quietly.”
Illan’s son, Staff Sergeant Erez Sagi, was killed in a battle in Nahal Oz after Hamas terrorists penetrated an IDF outpost via its tunnel network.
But tensions quickly mounted as Illan Sagi’s appeals to restore some semblance of order to the discussions escalated into a bitter diatribe as he vented his frustration at his son’s death.
“I paid the price of my son. Where were you all during the war when my son was killed in a tunnel?” he yelled.
Turning to MK Jamal Zakhalka (Joint List), an astonished Sagi said: “What are you doing here anyway? How did they let you in here? Go on the hunger strike with Barghouti!,” he screamed in reference to a current hunger strike being led by Marwan Barghouti, a convicted Palestinian murderer and terrorist.
Shortly after, Sagi recalled an incident in which he said he stood outside the prime minister's office holding a sign when Coalition Chairman David Bitan approached him and said "It won't help you," a charge which gave rise to a heated exchange between the two.
"You liar. I never spoke to you," Bitan retorted.
One of the fundamental conclusions drawn in the comptroller’s report was that Netanyahu, former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz failed to update Security Cabinet ministers about the threat posed by Hamas's border-crossing tunnels, leaving Israel inadequately prepared to deal with this threat.
(Translated and edited by Alexander J. Apfel)