Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner (whose two names translated mean roughly “Peace” and “Ironman”), deputy commander of the IDF unit patrolling the Jordan Valley, who was caught on video rifle-butting multiple peace protesters (the above video is from Israeli TV coverage and in Hebrew) several days ago has also been formally accused of threatening a military police officer, who stopped him for speeding. Eisner, according to Walla, exited the car and told the detaining officer:
Get out of my face or I’ll bust your head open!
He refused to cooperate in the traffic stop, contending he was on his way to performing military duties. That statement, according to investigating authorities, was false. He was promptly reported and Eisner’s commanding officer forwarded the complaint. The media source quotes fellow soldiers saying “the handwriting was on the wall” regarding Eisner’s “short fuse” and his tendency to self-destruct while on duty.
Eisner, who is now under investigation for rifle-butting at least three protesters including one caught on videotape, is appealing to the chief military prosecutor for the appointment of an attorney to defend him. If the military supplies one it will be tacitly affirming that his conduct of flagrantly assaulting unarmed demonstrators is accepted IDF policy; something Prime Minister Netanyahu has denied publicly.
The army has a habit of waiting till such international incidents blow over and then quietly ending the investigation, reinstating the offender, and even later promoting him to a higher rank as reward for his valor under fire. The more pressure that can be brought to bear and the longer it can last, the less likely this will happen in this case. Though the odds are against us, I’m afraid.
I’m amused by the army’s claim that it is investigating why commanders on the scene didn’t stop Eisner from serially beating protesters with his weapon. As if everyone doesn’t know the answer before the question is even asked.
Eisner is a kippah-wearing Orthodox Jew and has had the Israeli Orthodox community leap to his defense, claiming the rifle somehow jumped out of his hands and that he’s never deliberately used violence before. The former IDF chief rabbi, the one who urged the troops to kill as many Gazans as they could and offer even civilians no mercy in order to protect Jewish lives during Operation Cast Lead, has also proffered encomiums to Eisner’s good character.
The Kahanist Jewish Press published a story of Eisner’s heroic exploits on the field of battle and not surprisingly, Jonathan Hoffman, who writes for CIFWatch, Harry’s Place and the Jewish Chronicle, recommended the story to JC readers.
Personally, the image of an Orthodox Jew bearing a kippah acting as if he was a pro-wrestler assaulting an unarmed civilian made me sick. It was a hillul Ha-Shem (“desecration of God’s name). Though his act is being justified, because apparently Orthodox Jews only need to respect their fellow Jews and can dispense with such matters when dealing with lowly Palestinians and their fellow travelers.
Finally, it appears Israel is increasingly paranoid about the subversive elements in its midst; or those aliens who attempt to penetrate into the sacred inner Israeli sanctum. In this instance, it was a bike ride organized by the ISM into the Jordan Valley designed to display the apartheid aspect of Israeli roads which permit only Jews to travel on some of them. At about the same time, Israel was mounting a massive intelligence effort to prevent foreign “agents” from infiltrating Israel during an international “fly-in” designed to demonstrate solidarity between Palestinian and international human rights groups. Among the more outrageous aspects of that exercise in overkill was the decision to remove a French citizen from an Israel-bound Air France plane, after she was asked by the stewardess whether she was Jewish and/or possessed an Israeli passport. When she answered negatively to both, she was forced to leave the plane with no explanation offered.
All this raises the question: have we come to the point where only Jews and Israelis are permitted to travel to Israel? Will everyone attempting to enter the country be forced to offer a birth certificate affirming Jewish parentage? Or perhaps better yet, proof of circumcision (for men, of course)? Is this really the sort of racialist Israel we want?