Black Hebrew Community Demands Answers About Toveet Radcliffe’s Mysterious Death
Yesterday, the Israeli Black Hebrew community released a statement about Toveet Radcliffe’s death, four days after the tragedy, which demanded that the Israeli military provide clear, straight-forward answers about this tragedy. The press release noted that the Black Hebrews, a community which made aliyah to Israel beginning in the 1960s, began sending their children to military service eleven years ago. This is the first time one of their own has fallen. It would be one thing had the first soldier died in battle. But to have this sort of tragedy befall them seems doubly senseless and tragic.
The first Israeli media report has been published at an independent site called HaMakom. It largely summarizes my own post (without linking to it) and the new press statement. But this is the first one. Let’s hope a groundswell of coverage follows.
Here is the community statement:
We, the Hebrew community are struck by grief as a result of the tragic death of our daughter, Toveet Radcliffe, the daughter of Yisrael z”l. The grief is even graver and more profound in light of the catastrophe at the military base, occuring during a time when we are not even in the midst of active military conflict. Toveet is the first soldier from the heart of our community killed during military service in the eleven years during which our children have been serving in the IDF.
Our hearts and prayers are with the family in this time of sorrow and we know our pain is understood and felt by many families in Israel who’ve lost their dear ones while serving the nation.
Our loss is made even more bitter in light of hard questions which still have not been answered. Among them:
1. We were told she [Toveet] was on guard duty in a secure military facility between the hours of 10PM-12 midnight.
2. They found her shot in the face, but never told us whether the shots were fired from her own gun or not.
3. They haven’t clarified whether she was shot once or twice.
4. It is quite strange that no one heard shots on the military base at that late hour at night.
5. Her body was found only after a soldier arrived to relieve her on guard duty. This is highly unusual in light of our understanding of military procedure in which a soldier doesn’t stand guard alone and especially a female soldier. When soldiers do guard duty they are monitored every quarter hour to confirm their safety. Apparently, this procedure was not observed in this case. Why?
6. It’s reasonable to assume that in a sensitive security area within a military base there would be a surveillance system, but we were told there were no such security cameras in the area. Very strange.
7. We were met with conflicting and inconsistent versions [of the events leading to Toveet’s death]. For example, in the original report we were told they found her lifeless in her bedroom but afterward we were told she shot herself while standing guard.
These are only a few of the basic questions to which we demand answers in the effort to comprehend this terrible tragedy. We urge the military investigators to perform their work honestly, faithfully and urgently. The family and the entire community are shrouded in sadness and wait for their conclusions.
We are certain the investigators are aware that our hearts are in their hands and that they treat them as is fitting and proper. At this stage, we will restrict our comments until we know what really happened.
Adiv Ben Yehuda
Yukin Ben Yisrael
Not content to cover-up Toveet’s death, the IDF has compounded the tragedy by noting in its online memorial page for Toveet that she’s male, rather than female. I guess when you make a big blunder you’ll make lots of smaller ones as well. You’d think having caused enough suffering to this family at least they could get this small matter right.
I just published a new piece at Middle East Eye about the IDF’s effort to forestall war crimes charges regarding the Gaza war and its use of the horrifying Hannibal Directive. This piece summarizes my previous reporting on Hannibal and my role as the first journalist to confirm that it involved the IDF deliberately killing its own soldiers and massive numbers of enemy civlians as well.
13 thoughts on “Black Hebrew Community Demands Answers About Toveet Radcliffe’s Mysterious Death – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
A thoughtful and well-reasoned plea by the Black Hebrew community.
in the official documents they write that it’s amale soldier
the did not even take the time to verify if it’s a male or female
○ אורט צור ערד “סולל לך את העתיד” סיום שנה
Credit where credit is due … thanks Richard for once again being that lone voice!
“Our hearts and prayers are with the family in this time of sorrow, and we know our pain is understood and felt by many families in Israel who’ve lost their dear ones while serving the nation,” said the statement, as translated by independent blogger Richard Silverstein. “Our loss is made even more bitter in light of hard questions which still have not been answered.”
○ Family of Toveet Radcliffe, young Black Hebrew soldier found dead on IDF base, searching for answers | Jewish Journal |
The shots should have been heard; The base should have been sealed; All officers should be on report for dereliction of duty. The gun should be secured; forensics for fingerprints, blood type, etc.
Finally, the investigating team of officers should have immediately (in less than 24 hours) been convened from personnel not from that base. Evidence has undoubtedly been contaminated and/or mishandled in custody.
The IDF document also says Ben Yissachar and the letter from the community says Bat Yisrael. ???
Richard, have you seen this from today’s Haaretz online? http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/law/1.2581414
Black Isreali–you are in a big trouble!!!! It was better for you to stay in Ethiopia–at least Ethiopians –they fear God!!! Look what the evil people are doing to you!!!
If you had read the article, you would know that they are Americans.
When people fear the government there is tyranny;
When the government fears the people there is liberty.
@ Alexis: I wish that were true, but it isn’t necessarily. Many authoritarian governments fear the people. But if governments have a fear of actually being held accountable by the people then there can be liberty, though it’s not a given.
Help us spread the word before they close the case:
On February 21, 2015, while on active duty in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), Toveet Radcliffe, a 19 year old African Hebrew became the first African American to die while serving in the IDF.
For nearly an entire year the Israeli army would not tell her family who was responsible for her death. After 11 months, the Israeli army submitted a report claiming that no other person was involved with Toveet’s death, thus claiming that Toveet took her own life. Toveet’s family and friends know that she would never take her own life. When her family asked to see the investigation materials, the IDF took 3 1/2 weeks to provide the report, leaving only one month to review all of the materials before the IDF closes the case.
An examination of the materials reveals serious failures by the army’s investigation division including evidence that is contradictory, has been tampered with and censored. You can watch the video which shares these discrepancies at: https://www.facebook.com/khayab1/videos/10153626062300852/
On Sunday, March 27, 2016 the IDF will officially close the case, thereby effectively closing any opportunity to appeal the IDF ruling of suicide.
We are asking that you sign the petition to stop the IDF from closin