The recent internet publication of a list of the names, photos, ID numbers, and addresses of 200 IDF veterans of Operation Cast Lead enabled activists, apparently from Spain, to send what Yediot Achronot calls “hate mail” to the homes of a score or more of the officers. Apparently, one of the reasons it is labelled hate mail is that at least one of the envelopes contained the photo of a girl killed by the IDF (if I recall correctly this image was from the 2006 Lebanon war) along with the caption: “How will you explain this to God?”
This development is causing a certain level of consternation within the military and intelligence communities, which are used to being treated with great deference within Israeli society. They are wondering what further surprises may await them in the international arena.
The officer who received the envelope containing the photo of the dead child was Col. (res.) Ben Zion (“Bentzi”) Gruber, a deputy armored division commander and number 32 on the Dirty 200 list. He lives in the settlement of Efrata. Gruber’s wife was in shock when she opened the letter:
It’s an unpleasant feeling [to receive such mail]. I’m very troubled that there are elements in our midst [the IDF] which collect such material, including ID numbers and exact addresses. It’s necessary to act against them.
I’m at peace with what I did in Gaza. We acted according to the principles of international law. The ethical code was designed precisely for us so we wouldn’t kill anyone who was innocent.
A senior IDF officer living in a settlement tells us that he lives according to international law. What’s wrong with this picture?
Since Cast Lead, Yediot marvels that Gruber has given more than 150 lectures about the moral purity of operations during this massacre and the IDF’s adherence to its “ethical code.” The senior officer said he’d grown accustomed to signs displayed at such talks bearing the words “Wanted.” But he said that the hate mail is much harder to bear:
I’m about the leave for the U.S. to give a series of lectures. This is something you can’t ignore. It’s very troubling.
A senior IDF officer said about the hate mail and publication of the Cast Lead list:
The publication calling IDF officers “war criminals” is utterly out of bounds. It’s even seventy times more troubling that their homes and family members have to receive garbage like this. We must do everything to honor these officers and limit the impact of this incident.
How ya gonna put the genie back in the bottle?