Photo Credit: Yaacov Lederman/Flash90
A support rally for the Israeli soldier who is under arrest for shooting and killing a Palestinian terrorist in Hevron

I can barely work with all the emails and Facebook messages I am receiving. Israel has spoken loud and clear. What is amazing is that the media and the government aren’t hearing it, not even the army.

We, who you represent, we who you defend, we who gave you the power to be where you are, we who believe in peace, do not believe justice is served by abandoning and trying a 19-year-old boy for doing what he was trained to do.


You took him at a critical time in his life. He was a boy at the edge of becoming a man; he was a man, not yet parted from the boy. He is a son who remains connected to his family in a way that is different than it will be, different than it was. You took him and made him stronger, faster, probably thinner than he was before he entered the army.

You changed him. His body that can now do things it could not do before; his mind that is now filled with so much more than it knew before. You gave him a weapon and warned him that there will be those who attempt to take it from him. You tested him; tried to steal the weapon from him in the middle of the night as he slept so that even in sleep, he is one with the gun.

You taught him that the gun can save…and the gun can harm. When he goes home, he thinks about where to put the gun, even the pieces of the gun. He races time to learn to put it together faster, to get the magazine in faster, to be able to raise it and be prepared to fire it – faster. You taught him to watch, to be aware and now wherever he goes, he stands differently, always on alert, always watching. Always knowing he has to be faster than his enemy or people could die. His people. His friends. His brothers.

He was taught the signs to look for, the things to be worried about. Some of them are obvious, even to those of us who were never in the army. He was put in a place, perhaps among the most dangerous in all of Israel for a soldier. Daily soldiers are attacked there. Rammed at the entrance to Kiryat Arba, stoned as they go on patrol. Arabs throw paint and boulders, taunt them, scream at them, spit at them. He is surrounded by hatred, a hatred that massacred Jewish men, women and children long before our state was founded. A hate so deep, it didn’t think twice about focusing on the head of a beautiful 10 month old baby, and pulling the trigger. This is where you put him, our soldier, our 19-year-old boy who now becomes a man.

And as our enemies from the outside are there, so too are our enemies from within, the likes of Peace Now and B’tselem that live to “catch” them do anything, and they too taunt the soldiers and push them and pick at them and accuse them.

There are some irrefutable facts and then there is conjecture:

Fact: we know the 19-year-old soldier shot a terrorist who had attacked a soldier and had been shot.
Fact: we know that the medics and eyewitnesses on the scene called out, warning that the terrorist might be dangerous, might have a bomb, and was moving.
Conjecture: pretty much everything else. Pieces of “evidence” leaked by the military to the media more designed to justify the army’s abandonment of the soldier than to shed any new light on what really happened.

There are serious questions as to how the unit’s commanding officer handled the scene. The commander says he checked the terrorist for a bomb and that the terrorist was neutralized. Yet how did he check the terrorist if the terrorist’s jacket was still buttoned closed? Is the commanding officer trained to check for a bomb and disarm it? If not, he’s an idiot because merely in checking, he could have set a bomb off.

If the terrorist was neutralized, why wasn’t an army medic treating him? Army regulations, and those of Magen David Adom as well, require that injured people be treated in the order of severity and yet the terrorist is left there while medics see to another soldier who was, from reports I have seen, only lightly wounded.

And then we have the war of words that is happening all around. I can’t remember the last time an investigation was handled so poorly. What happened to the concept that the IDF does not discuss an ongoing investigation?

Who the hell is Moshe Yaalon to announce now that the soldier is guilty? His is a political position not a judicial one and he wasn’t there. Has he sat with the soldier personally? Did he go to the scene? Speak with the commanding officer? With the medics involved?
Who IS at fault…if there is fault to be had?

Years ago, when my oldest son was in the army, he told me about one of his commanding officers. K. was an amazing leader. He should have been much higher in rank by the time my son was assigned to his unit. K. was the commander in charge, when my son was in the war in Gaza. K. had fought in Lebanon too.

Somewhere between Lebanon and Gaza, something terrible happened. A nagmash (APC) turned over during an exercise, and the commander in the vehicle was killed. K. was that commander’s commanding officer’s commanding officer. He was not present during the exercise and yet, K. stepped forward and took responsibility. It happened under his command, under his watch, he answered, and so he was responsible. He was reluctantly moved down a rank, and then began working his way back up through the ranks. He was, by far, the most exceptional commanding officer my son ever had.

What is happening here is against everything that the army is. The Defense Minister is blaming the soldier. The Chief of Staff is blaming the soldier. The Prime Minister. The media…but amazingly enough, not the people.

But we, the people, remain untouched by greed, by politics, by fear. We don’t bow to the world, not even to the Americans or the UN. If there is fault to be had, it is the soldier’s commanding officer who should step forward to protect his unit and his soldier. Why is he not taking responsibility? Where is his commanding officer’s commanding officer to say “it happened under my watch, I am responsible”?
If my son was in that unit, I would do everything in my power to have him transferred out. I don’t want my son anywhere near a commander who would throw his soldier to the ground to save himself.

The terrorist was not checked properly. Had he been checked and neutralized, his jacket would have been off – if not, at very least opened.

Medics and soldiers were not informed that the commander had supposedly checked the terrorist. If they had been, they would not have called out that the terrorist moved and might be dangerous.
Israel does not abandon its soldiers. This soldier has done his job. The fault in this incident, if there is ANY fault to be had for his neutralizing a terrorist, rests with the commander for failing to secure the site, failing to neutralize the terrorist, failing to communicate. Let the commander be the leader. Let him stand with his soldier, or be removed from command. Soldiers cannot serve under a commander that cannot be trusted. No man can walk into battle not trusting the man who leads them.

That goes with the army. That goes with the nation. That goes for Netanyahu, Yaalon, and Eizenkot. This is our soldier and no matter what you read in the media, he is our hero. Israel is speaking very loudly. Over 80% of the people believe in this soldier. You may not be a fool to attack a 19-year-old boy and abandon him, but you are a fool to go against the people of Israel.

Support our soldier! Release him! The only murderers…or attempted murderers at that scene have now both been neutralized. Treat them as the terrorists they were. Destroy their homes and tell their families that they won’t get an apology from us, they’ll get nothing from us except our utter and complete contempt.

Don’t mess with our soldier. Don’t mess with the people of Israel.


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Paula R. Stern is the co-founder of Retraining4Israel (, a new organization working to help olim make aliyah successful. Paula made aliyah over 30 years ago with her husband and their three children. She lives in Maale Adumim and is often referred to as “A Soldier’s Mother”. She is now a happy wife, mother of five (including two sabras), and grandmother, happily sharing her voice and opinions with others. She is also a senior tech writer and lead training instructor at WritePoint Ltd. ( Please visit her new website: