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Text testimonies Things that don’t make it to the media
catalog number: 140638
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Paratroopers
Area: Hebron
period: July 2002
categories:
311  views    2  comments
Things that don’t make it to the media
Rank: First Sergeant
Unit: Paratroopers
Area: Hebron
period: July 2002

The worst thing I saw in Hebron happened a day after Elazar Leibowitz’s funeral [a Hebron settler who was killed in a Palestinian attack whole on his way home from military service.] I was guarding the Gross post, which is on the roof of a building and is the lookout for Hebron’s central square. I was on guard there, and in the middle of my shift, sometime in the afternoon, I see an old man with a cane walking down, an Arab from Abu Sneina. The old man looked sixty-plus, had a cane, he gets to the Abu Sneina intersection, to Gross Square, and all of a sudden three sixteenor seventeen year-old kids jump him, they push him down to the ground in a second. They grab a stone and they open up his head. They start kicking him down on the ground, bashing his head. Here’s a sixty-year-old man with a stream of blood gushing from his head, blood pouring from his head. It all happened in a few seconds, really, just a few seconds. In one second he’s on the ground, then they have a rock and they’ve cut his scalp and there’s a stream of blood gushing from his head. They kick him and before the soldiers standing below me at the post were able to get to them, they’d already run away. An officer on patrol showed up, he didn’t know what they’d done, so he didn’t catch them. They just ran away. The company medic came immediately and started bandaging up the old Palestinian man, and we took him to an ambulance.

Do you know what happened to him? No. I believe he was okay, because they stopped the stream of blood from his head and they sent him to the hospital. It was just so shocking. I was shocked. Afterward I went to the officer in tears. I’d been a soldier for seven months, I didn’t understand what was going on here. I said that it can’t be like this, us protecting the settlers, I didn’t understand how come it was like this. The incident really shocked me, for me, it destroyed everything. Here’s the thing, the first thing I compared it to, what I immediately thought about was the lynching in Ramallah [in 2000, two Israeli reservists were killed by a mob in Ramallah]. The images are still in my mind, even today. It’s hard when I think about them, and it really reminds me of the lynching in Ramallah, how they behaved.

And then you went to Carmela? [Carmela Menashe, Israel Radio’s well-known military correspondent] I took the story to Carmela Menashe. I didn’t tell any of the soldiers in my company, because it didn’t seem appropriate, but I quietly went to Carmela Menashe. I had a contact for her.

Were there other soldiers like you? In each company I think there was one soldier who had a problem with things. The majority didn’t have the emotional intelligence or the openness to talk about it. And we didn’t talk about it with each other, because soldiers don’t talk to each other about things like that, there’s no serious discussion in a company of combat soldiers. The whole macho atmosphere, everything’s a joke, they don’t take anything seriously, and at the end of the day everyone’s just trying to get through the shit together. Because again, like I said, on the spectrum of miserable people in Hebron, it’s pretty bad being a soldier. You’re sacrificed.

What happened when you went to Carmela Menashe? I told her the story over the phone. It didn’t get broadcast. I didn’t hear it anywhere. And that was another shock, because I understood that basically anything that goes on there, that innocent kids, fourteen years old, eight years old, die there for no reason, [The soldier is referring to a settler rampage in which a Palestinian girl was shot dead and a Palestinian boy was stabbed in the back] that settlers go into their houses and shoot at them, and settlers go crazy in the streets and break store windows and beat up soldiers and throw eggs at soldiers and lynch the elderly—all these things don’t make it to the media. Hebron is a small, isolated world, and the Avraham Avinu neighborhood is isolated inside Hebron, and more soldiers guard it than people living there. The people living in the neighborhood do whatever they want, the soldiers are forced to protect them. The settlers are the biggest Jewish Nazis I’ve ever met. And it’s here in the State of Israel, and no one knows about it, and no one wants to know, and no one reports on it. People prefer not to know, not to understand that something terrible is happening not far from us. Really, no one cares. And the soldiers there are unlucky, and the Palestinians there are super-unlucky. And no one helps them.