One of the most inspiring IDF army commanders to have led his troops into battle against the terrorist enemy during Operation Protective Edge this summer is being left off the list to be promoted, according to the Hebrew-language NRG news website.
Givati Brigade Commander Col. Ofer Winter was in line to be promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, but it is apparently not to be, according to the report — at least, not this year — due to two controversial incidents that took place during his wartime leadership this summer.
One cause of the holdup is rumored to be a letter of inspiration he wrote to the men under his command on July 9, just prior to entering Gaza.
The other is allegedly his involvement with the implementation of the Hannibal protocol in Rafah in response to the murder-abduction of Lt. Hadar Goldin by Hamas terrorists during a supposed cease-fire in Gaza.
Hamas is still holding the body parts of Goldin’s corpse it captured during the attack, for some ghoulish ransom, such as the exchange of who knows how many live Palestinian Authority terrorist prisoners held in Israeli jails. Or perhaps in trade for a huge number of dead Muslim terrorist bodies. After the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah returned the bodies of two kidnapped and murdered IDF reservists to Israel in exchange for both.
The letter of inspiration Winter wrote for his soldiers during Operation Protective Edge this past summer contained Biblical references, making it a controversial item for secularist groups but one that was lauded by others.
Deputy Religious Services Minister Eli Ben-Dahan praised the commander for the letter of encouragement sent to soldiers under his command. Winter wrote of their ‘great merit’ to be at the forefront of the battle against “the terrorist enemy that dares to curse, blaspheme and scorn the God of Israel.”
Summing up his trust in his men, his commanders and in his Creator, the Givati Brigade commander wrote, “In the name of the fighters of the IDF and in particular the Brigade and the commanders, may the verse be fulfilled for us that ‘the Lord your God goes with you to fight for you with your enemies to save you,’ and we will say ‘Amen.’ Together – and only together – we will win.”
Winter’s letter stirred and inspired many by its deep and abiding faith but was slammed by at least two secularist groups who insisted Israel can not mix religion with military affairs.
Nevertheless, the vast majority of lawmakers spoke out in support of the commander, saying his call for Divine aid in time of battle against an implacable enemy was entirely appropriate.
As far as his implementation of the Hannibal protocol, that issue is being considered separately along with all other such matters by the IDF investigating committee.