The parents of Tomer Eiges z”l released a shattering letter (in Hebrew) yesterday damning the IDF for its treatment of their son. They especially chose to single out the chief of staff for condemnation, but included the entire command structure of AMAN as well. Though the parents placed asterisks in the text where they censored their son’s name, I have added it. This is my English translation:
To: Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Chief of Staff
This week, in a statement you delivered at the Inter-Disciplinary Center in Herzliya, you spoke about “your solider, the solider of all of us, an AMAN officer, who died in prison.”
This soldier was the child of our old age, Tomer Eiges z”l
We never dreamed that Tomer z”l who dedicated five years of his life to the IDF, with tremendous appreciation from his superiors, would end his life in such a tragic and painful way, under uncertainty and clouded circumstances. He was only 24 years old. To our great sorrow, we haven’t even had the time to mourn him properly. We find ourselves in a Devil’s Dance, angry that on every internet site pictures of his grave appear. While we still try to understand how we lost our son, and why. Who did not watch over him properly? Who treated his life so lightly?
To our sorrow, even we, as his parents, have more questions than answers. This situation does not give us rest. Even before we clarified what are the facts, even you chose to use words [in your address] which intensified our pain. They placed upon Tomer z”l a huge black mark at a time when he could no longer respond.
Tomer z”l was a child who was one of a kind, rare in his talents, who became an outstanding soldier. His successes in the course of his military service provided honor to his unit, AMAN. He was never accused of a single disciplinary offense. Towards the end of his active service, they laid very serious accusations upon him. They did this through the absolute abandonment of responsibility of levels of senior command, and various outrageous actions, which felt as if they were designed more to damage Tomer’s spirit than to protect the security of the State. This does not bring honor to the IDF.
[You did not offer your statement] with the intent, as you claimed “to protect his privacy and the privacy of his family.” But rather out of a fear that he would reveal how AMAN operates: offering freedom of action and encouragement of creativity and exploiting the abilities of an excellent soldier. But rather than supporting the soldier and monitoring his actions, instead averted your eyes until things went out of control.
Our feelings are very troubled and we write these words from our hearts.
Since we have been authorized to learn the details of the charges against him (and that, only following his death) we cannot ask him what he did (if he did) and what were his motivations. These questions will never be answered.
While he was not in a dungeon, he was nevertheless transformed into a persona non grata. No wanted to have anything to do with him. This was even before the legal process began. We were hurt to the depths of our soul when all his superiors who were almost his entire world in his last years, uprooted and erased him from their lives. Just twice during those nine months did they ask about how he was doing. Tomer became a person with a mark of shame while he was still living. No relations, no human sympathy for Tomer.
We have no doubt that Tomer did not do even one act during his military service that intentionally damaged his country.
We financially supported our Tomer who earned a university degree during his high school studies. All of this tremendous knowledge he gave to his country. Our Tomer who, in addition to the certificates of personal excellence, also received the 2019 Israel Security Prize, through which he was invited to the President’s House. That was our Tomer. That was the IDF’s Tomer.
We, his parents, demand the end of the defamation campaign against our dead son.
We demand a re-evaluation of every possible thing that happened from the moment he was imprisoned to the moment he breathed his last breath. We refuse to be satisfied with yet another “investigation,” which will lead to a few systemic conclusions lacking any significance.
We demand that this failure be investigated in a thorough manner, that the IDF will turn over every stone, examine every picture, question every person. Without pre-conceptions, Without cutting corners. Without whitewashing. Without hiding. We owe it to him. We owe it to Tomer.
We lost the thing that was more dear to us than anything. No one will bring back Tomer. But we will not be silent and we will not rest until the whole truth is uncovered, until we get a full picture, as hard as it may be, until the IDF draws the proper conclusions [the phrases indicates they’re demanding the disciplining and firing of responsible parties] from this terrible event.
One day, in the middle of his life, we buried Tomer. We will not bury the truth.
With great respect and sorrow,
The parents of Tomer