Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
The second weekend of April 2013 is a complicated one in Israel, the events related to Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism Remembrance Day and the subsequent Independence Day are split due to the Sabbath. Commemorated shortly after the Holocaust Day, these two events end the Zionist midyear horror-festival. This year, Remembrance Day became the scene of an ugly event, when IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, decided to discriminate among dead soldiers according to their religion and ethnic background.
The shameful event took place on April 11, during what is known as “Project Little Flag to the Dead Fighter” (Diglon LaNofel). Shortly before the official events, little Israeli flags are placed atop the graves of soldiers. The Chief of Staff is supposed to put one on the grave of the most recent soldier buried in the Military Cemetery on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem. The project is running for about ten years and was hardly mentioned; after all, there are a myriad of remembrance events taking place on that day. Yet, this year it was different. Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, a proud Jew, refused to put a flag on the grave of a non-Jewish soldier.
IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, Remebrance Day 2013 Assassin’s Creed: Renaissance
More than a head taller than most other participants, General Gantz nonchalantly approached the grave of Lieutenant Colonel Shlomo Nitzani and placed a little flag on it. At that moment, few of the participants knew that the event was weird. Nitzani had been born in 1936, and was not killed in action. He died at the age of 76 in October 2012. Apparently he wasn’t engaged in fighting of any type during his last moments.
Shortly afterwards, mayhem started when it was found that the newest grave in the cemetery was in a different parcel, which is kept for non-Jewish soldiers. One of the reasons Israel’s Military Cemeteries are separated from civilian ones is to allow the burial of Gentiles. In Israel, discrimination transcends life. The grave belonged to Yvgeny Tolochky, a Russian Christian-Orthodox soldier, who had been buried recently.
Lieutenant General Benny Gantz in his shame; Channel 2 News (Hebrew)
The formal reaction of the IDF was illogical: “According to the Chief of Staff, the identity of the soldier is irrelevant, the causes of his death are irrelevant. If, as a result of the event, somebody was hurt, the Chief of Staff is sorry.” As commented in the past, a conditioned apology is arrogant and worthless. Moreover, the statement is not true, General Gantz clearly discriminated against a Russian Christian-Orthodox soldier.
This is not just my assessment. Former Head of the IDF Human Resources Directorate, and currently Member of the Knesset Eliezer Stern said: “The IDF explanation left me sad.” MK Zehava Galon added: “Mourning is the same for Jews and Gentiles.” Following these and other reactions, the IDF announced that from next year, the Chief of Staff will place flags atop two different graves. In other words, Gantz will keep discriminating against Gentiles, even if they have died for the sake of his Zionist dream. Charming!
Father Forgive Them
Several years ago, I gave a sermon titled Father, forgive them. I would like to end this article with a few words adapted from it, which properly summarize the current shame of Israel. In Luke 23:34 we read: “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Jesus asks here from God to judge the sinners that crucified Him. Yet, Jesus had all the authority for pardoning – he did that all the time. Here, He does not. Why? Because, in their arrogance, they did not repent. They told jokes on Him. They kept harming His body until He died. They did not fulfill the condition for being pardoned: repentance.
They were sent to be judged by God; in other words, they were condemned by the Mosaic Law. Israeli soldiers behave no better than the crucifying crowd. In the Beit Oranim Transcript (Hebrew, English, partial), confirmed later by the Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, Israeli soldiers presented themselves as assassins of women, children and grandmothers.
They were not repentant on their crimes. They told jokes and made fun on the victims. They did so openly in the Hebrew media. They discriminated between humans according to their ethnic background and religion. They did so because that is what they were taught by the Zionist establishment. They did so because they mimic their commanders. General Gantz provided such an example by shamefully discriminating among his soldiers according to racist parameters.
General Gantz, may God forgive you, because we, the people, can’t.
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.