Friday I witnessed something that will forever be etched into mind and my soul. I witnessed a few soldiers, policeman and special forces loading a prisoner into the back of an army jeep. A kilometer down the road the back doors of the jeep flew open with a soldier and a policeman jumping out the back while a pair of legs was kicking and flailing into the air. The prisoner was not going anywhere without a fight and fight he got. I do not know what happened in that kilometer but I do know that the policeman and chayil both felt the need to pull out their batons and start beating the prisoner. I witnessed a few minutes of this whole situation from the closing of the doors… them reopening and for the minute of beating the prisoner until the buss pulled away. I do not know who that person was in the back of the army jeep.
I do not know if he was a michabel (a terrorist) or just a political prisoner. What I do know was that was my first experience witnessing the beating of a person by those responsible of protecting my home. I stared out the window in shock as the bus pulled away. My eyes welled up in tears and my mind just wanted to shut down and not try to comprehend what I just witnessed. The reason for the tears was that it hurt me to watch a human being beating another human being. I am quite aware of reality. I know that we have no choice but to fight our enemies even on our busy main streets like Yaffo. But on the other hand, G-d created all of us. Even our enemies. Now if G-d, in his infinite wisdom created them.. then we need to treat them as G-d’s creations give them the respect any and all of G-d’s creations deserve.
I didnt and still do not have that ability to view the prisoner in any other way other than a human being. I do not know why he was arrested. I assume that there was a very specific reason for it and I have faith in the intelligence and competency of my armed forces. But there is a side of me that says that what I saw was wrong. Wrong in the vigor of the hits to the prisoner. Wrong that humans have to beat each other. Wrong that no one stood in fornt of the soldiers and tried to stop the beating. What I do know is that even though I witnessed something that resonated deeply in my soul… I do know that our soldiers are capable and do show humanity to our enemies. In one of the darkest times of our nation’s fight against terrorism, our soldiers behaved above and beyond what any other army in the world would’ve done.
Last year I came across an amazing book written by a reserve soldier that took part of the operations in Jenin during 2002. At the time the Palestinians cried out Massacre and this book gives a clear understanding of really happened in Jenin from a first person perspective.
Brett goes into detail on how careful the Israeli army was not to kill innocent civilians. Yes the Israeli army could have just bombed the entire city but instead decided to go door to door risking its own soldiers to save the lives of innocent people. The book describes in detail how the soldiers were commanded to treat the city’s inhabitants with the utmost respect while invading their homes. They were not allowed to touch, break or defile homes.
War can physically, mentally and spiritually harm both sides of the conflict. I believe in a the State of Israel, that it needs to be populated and run by Jews. But I also believe that because this is a Jewish State there are stricter rules that guide us when dealing with our enemies.
(too be continued)