I think that the argument about the most moral army in the world is a fig leaf, hiding what’s really happening
Why break the silence?
I simply think that a lot of times people just don’t know, and always accuse the Palestinians that their educational system incites and educates to hate the other. Ours is the same, even if it’s not formally in the books, even though it sometimes is formally in the books. Yes, we are taught that the other side is the enemy and we should fear him and so forth. You understand at some stage that you’re the one who creates this resistance, you create friction, you behave improperly, you humiliate and so forth. I always used to say, during debates: you’ve never seen a Palestinians in your lives, you don’t know how they live. And beyond that, I suddenly understood that some of the things I did there are illegitimate, what seemed fine at the time, even needed and “that’s the only way to restore order.” Suddenly I thought: what gives me the right to do it? I think I wasn’t always pure as snow, I had soldiers who did things that were much worse and we didn’t say anything to them because that was the general atmosphere that all in all, that’s how we behave. Even the exceptional cases, even if they were punished, it was never adequate punishment, it was: okay, nu, nu, nu, don’t do that again. Someone who abandoned the radio connection and shut the jeep and went to eat lunch without saying anything to anyone was punished more severely than someone who threw a remark to some Palestinian woman or beat someone up at the checkpoint. And if people knew, how would it change the situation?
We always hear someone saying that we’re the most moral army in the world and the chosen people and so on. I think that the argument about the most moral army in the world is a fig leaf, hiding what’s really happening. I understand that our situation isn’t amazing, and it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and we have to protect ourselves, but protection isn’t aggression and it doesn’t mean being an occupying nation, and maybe being the occupier is what demands all this protection. People say: hey, we’re moral, we’re not doing anything. I know, I have stories, I’ve seen soldiers do things that if you heard them, you’d be shocked. We created a sort of smoke screen, we’re not looking, and you say: okay, there are Arabs who shoot at us and beat us, they’re the bad guys, we have soldiers protecting us, what they’re doing is probably fine, they’re the most moral army in the world. So probably everything I hear in the news is true and if, unfortunately, there’s a deviation from the norm, it’s either a lie, or B’tzelem or it’s a misleading clip. And I was there, I know it’s all true, and seems like a crime I’m taking part in. I don’t want to be part of it, I believe we should somehow stop it. Stop it by making things known, stop it by persuading people, by explaining to them. But in order to explain and to do it efficiently, they have to hear the truth, they have to hear stories by people who were there and know what really happened, not just guesswork. I still believe that somehow, the moment you’re a Jewish soldier – and I feel that during arguments – then suddenly you’re respected, and so forth, and then there’s a little more attention and maybe you can clarify your point.