web analytics
July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


A SOLDIER'S CONFESSION

‘I Aimed my Rifle Above the Rock-Throwing Arab Boy’s Head’

Today he might be terrorist, a peace-loving Arab. Or maybe he is a dead suicide bomber. In 1990, he was 8 years old when he hurled rocks at the bus I was guarding.
F100330IR03

Photo Credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

I confess.

As a Reserve IDF soldier, I may have been guilty of not defending my country. “Come and arrest me, Benny Gantz,” but I feel safe that at the age of 69, I will be ignored.

The incident occurred 23 years ago, during the “First” Intifada, a misnomer for the 27-year terrorist campaign launched by Yasser Arafat and another chapter in the century-old anti-Zionist war.

I was escorting a tourist bus on the hilly curves of Beit Jala, a village that is part of the Bethlehem region.

The Intifada had reached the stage of massive rock-throwing and firebombings of army and civilian vehicles.

The IDF really was prepared to fight armies but not rock throwers. How do you defend citizens against rock-throwers, many of them children?

The military’s R & D geniuses came up with the “Hatzatzit” (gravel maker), a tank-like machine that ground up rocks and, in  an “eye-for-an-eye” fashion, sprayed protesters with pebbles.

They were used against large-scale demonstrations but were not available for every rock-throwing incident in Judea and Samaria.

Rocks are the same as bullets in that they are projectiles that can kill, but when you shoot an M-16 rifle, you are almost certain of scaring the daylights out of someone several hundred feet away, or injuring, if not killing him. It is not a hunting rifle, it is used to defend civilians and soldiers from being killed.

Thrown rocks can be deadly, as we know too well. Many Jewish babies and adults have been killed by the impact of a rock through a car windshield, or by a fatal crash caused by a hurdled rock.

That is the ultimate goal of the rock-throwers nowadays. But in 1990, it was more of a symbol of defiance and a challenge to soldiers. The Arabs had stones. The soldiers had guns. That was not seen as a fair fight, but it’s never a fair fight when a Jew wins.

And how about an eight-year-old who back then had no intention to kill.

I remember when I was eight years old, on a snowy day in Baltimore. Our next-door neighbor’s grandson, a neighborhood mischief-maker, led the charge to pelt passing cars with snowballs. I wanted to be accepted by my buddies, so I joined in.

Bam! I hit a guy’s side window head-on. Bull’s-eye. I was exhilarated. I showed my “friends” I could do it.

I was less exhilarated when the driver slammed the brakes and  angrily burst out of the car to chase after us.

He didn’t call the police. Worse than that, we got a nasty response from our parents.

There is no comparison between my childhood incident and the Arab hatred of Jews. After all, I did not hate the driver. But you could compare my pelting a snow ball with the rocks pelted by one eight-year-old Arab, 20-some years ago. The Arabs had not yet educated their small children to murder Jews. They only encouraged them to harass Jews.

That’s what they did when I was escorting that tourist bus.

I was toting an M-16 semi-automatic. My cartridge had one rubber bullet. That was all the ammunition I was allowed to use on stone-throwers. After that first bullet, the others were live. A rubber bullet can kill but usually does not. A live bullet usually kills or injures, unless you’re a bad shot.

As usual, without warning, a rock smashed into a side window of the bus.

The driver stopped, and I rushed out, with my rifle aiming in the air. I saw an eight-year-old running away, his back to me.

I raised my weapon and aimed.

Twenty years later, our son was a combat soldier in the Golani Brigade. If it were him in my place, I would have said: “Shoot him. Kill him. If you don’t get rid of him now, the blood of ‘who knows many Jews’ will be on your hands in 20 years when he becomes a full-grown terrorist. My son, this Is Israel and not the diaspora. Pull the trigger.”

I aimed the rifle at the fleeing boy’s head.

Twenty-two years later, my second son was serving in a Tank Brigade. If he had been in Beit Jala, would I have told him: “My son, don’t do it. How can you shoot an eight-year-old in the back? So he threw a rock. So what? Remember the snowball I threw?”

I released the safety catch on the weapon and prepared to shoot.

Twenty-three years later, my oldest daughter is serving in the Air Force, inspecting and loading missiles on warplanes before they head to Gaza and Lebanon to eliminate – no, kill – terrorists. If she were a combat soldier facing an eight-year-old, Arab, rock-throwing terrorist, would I have said, “Be careful. If you don’t hit him, he will throw a bigger rock in your face tomorrow. But if you hit him, you will face questioning by the generals. The press will make a big deal out of it, and you might end up in the brig. Play it safe.”

And who knows what I would have told my other two younger children?

I pulled the  trigger and the rubber bullet sped ahead, right on target – above the boy’s head, just where I had aimed.

I chased after him, but he quickly blended into a flood of Arab villagers, and I was not about to shoot live ammunition into that crowd.

I always wonder what happened to that eight-year-old.

Perhaps he grew up to become a collaborator and is helping Israel. Or maybe he is a terrorist. Or maybe was killed in a suicide bombing. Better yet, maybe he left the country.

Maybe this and maybe that.

Do I regret not having shot the boy in the head? Not at all. I could not have lived a normal life afterwards.

Doesn’t that give the enemy an advantage, letting them know that they can have the upper hand and that we, Israeli Jews, appear to be afraid to defend ourselves, but in fact, are afraid of God’s judgment?

Yes, indeed.

It’s not easy being a Jew.

That’s why we’re here.

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “‘I Aimed my Rifle Above the Rock-Throwing Arab Boy’s Head’”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Windows on the Jerusalem Light Rail smashed by Arab stone throwers.
Jerusalem Arabs Attack Light Rail in Shuafat, Again
Latest Indepth Stories
wedding cake

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

ISIS leads captured Egyptian Copts in death march.

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Dr. Michael J. Salamon

Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly

Gerstenfeld-070315

What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?

Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.

Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel

In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Rather than asserting Jewish rights on Temple Mount or protecting Jewish lives Israel chooses soccer

Nothing in the NEW Paris Proposal differs much from what was offered by Olmert and rejected by Abbas

No longer will delegitimization efforts go unchallenged. That’s a silence we will continue to break.

More Articles from Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
Israel Chief of Police Yohanan Danino arrives at the yearly event of the Police Investigations Department in Jerusalem

Yochanan Danino also distributed 200 books written in his honor and called, “My Father, the Commissioner.”

Nicholas Winton

“The Jewish people and the State of Israel owe an eternal debt to Nicholas Winton who singlehandedly saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday after hearing of his death. Winton died in Britain at the age of 106. He saved hundreds of Jewish children from the gas chambers […]

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

IDF okays Egypt’s heavy arms in Sinai. Al-Sisi claims it is in total control over the Sinai.

Egypt attacks jihadists with F-16 warplanes. Israel closes borders to Gaza and Egypt.

“The Donald” is in the number two spot, shared with Ben Carson, in Iowa and Michigan after a survey that already placed him in the second spot in New Hampshire.

A demonstration and call for action against terror are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday across from the official of residence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Government officials got on the soap box after Monday’s night murder of Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld and spoke beautifully against Palestinian Authority incitement and terror. Action is something else. […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/personal/i-aimed-my-rifle-above-the-rock-throwing-arab-boys-head/2013/04/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: