One of Israel’s most decorated and veteran officers, Amos Horev, recently earned the ‘Security of Israel Prize’ for Lifetime Achievement (Hebrew) in a ceremony presided over by Pres. Shimon Peres and defense minister Ehud Barak. This is the second highest national award offered after the Israel Prize. Among his achievements, he was also president of the Technion and a trusted booster of the Israeli armaments industry. Those of you who read this blog regularly may remember that Horev was among the younger of the octogenarians and nonagenarians appointed to the Turkel Commission, which did its duty by whitewashing the Mavi Marmara massacre, finding Israel’s siege of Gaza was just and the killings aboard the Turkish humanitarian vessel likewise justified.
But one of the most infamous incidents in Horev’s military career goes all the way back to the mid-1940s, when he served in the Palmach at a time when a notorious sexual assault occurred in which the victim of the attempted rape was a Jewish kibbutznik. Through intelligence data, the authorities identified a local Israeli (then Palestinian) Arab they believed had committed the crime. Presuming that legal justice would be insufficient to punish the alleged perpetrator, and that the Biblical dictum of an eye for an eye and a penis for a rape would better apply, Horev commanded a unit which kidnapped the man and castrated him on the spot, after they learned the proper medical procedures from an Israeli medical doctor [!].
Not only was the incident not suppressed, it became the subject of a famous pop song whose lyrics (though bowdlerized to protect the sensitive ears of Israeli womanhood, I suppose) were on the lips of all Israeli Jews, much as those of Justin Bieber are on the lips of all impressionable young American girls.
Horev certainly earned his award for whitewashing the Mavi Marmara and thereby doing a great service to his country. But the notion of offering Israel’s second most prestigious national award to a man made famous for castrating an Israeli Palestinian leaves the bitterest of tastes in one’s mouth. If truth be told, Amos Horev engaged in state-sanctioned terror way back when, and his nation he rewarded him handsomely for it. Can you imagine Lt. William Calley being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom? I say it reeks.
At the time of his appointement to the Turkel inquiry, I wrote this:
…The next time any supporter of Israel’s draconian policies rants about Arab terror, let them consider for a moment the rather sordid past of some of Israel’s current élite. If those who engaged in acts of terror like Horev can play major roles in their nation’s subsequent history, there is no reason why those Israel currently labels dangerous, murderous terrorists cannot do the same in Palestine.
At the same time as Horev received his award, the IDF also bestowed an award (Hebrew) on a “mystery woman” whose identity, rank, and service branch were under gag. The reason she earned her prize was under wraps. Which prize she earned was verboten too. She even wore civilian clothes so as to conceal her entire military identity. The author of the Ynet article even believes the name under which she was called to the podium was false. But he does note that she received her award among others bestowed on military intelligence, so that may be inferred as her service branch.
As my friend Dena Shunra writes:
“Somebody. Got a prize. For doing something. But we can’t tell you what, ’cause of a gag order. Aren’t you happy she’s out there doing nothing we can talk about?”
Given the rising hemline and leering glances offered by Pres. Peres and IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz standing across from her, and the fact that she’s connected to intelligence, one wonders whether she’s a honeypot of the type who captured Mordechai Vanunu and a number of other men wanted by Israel.
The awards committee which bestowed the awards was composed of the best and worst of the IDF officer corps. It included Uzi Elam, who has consistently voiced strong opposition to an Israeli attack on Iran. It also included Doron Almog, the infamous commander who approved orders to asssassinate Salah Shehadeh despite the fact it meant murdering almost a score of civilians as well. This was also the incident about which then air force chief Dan Halutz said, the murders disturbed his conscience about as much as the dropping of a bomb on its target disturbs the flight of the plane. It caused him “a slight shudder” was the way he so infamously put it.
One wonders whether the conscience of mystery woman was similarly disturbed by whatever intelligence operation she starred in.