The Shmooze

Shamed Israeli Soldier Has Friends in High Places

By Nathan Jeffay

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Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari has just come up with the ultimate harebrained idea. The Jewish nation, he believes, is in need of values, and who better to provide them than the Israeli soldier who just shocked the world with his brutality?

There was shame in Israel earlier this month, after a video of Col. Shalom Eisner, deputy commander of the Jordan Valley Brigade, went viral. He was slamming his M-16 in the face of Danish activist Andreas Ias. There was condemnation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, and the army has suspended him pending an investigation.

But Eisner has various celebrity backers. The novelist Naomi Ragen has claimed that Eisner was provoked and said that he condemned the “disgraceful dismissal of this dedicated officer on the altar of Public Relations.” She recounted how she bumped in to him in Jerusalem and “had the rare privilege of approaching Col. Eisner and expressing to him personally my deep regret over the unjust way he had been treated, and my personal support and admiration. I let him know that my feelings were widely shared. “‘May God bless you’ I told them.”

Yet firebrand Ben-Ari goes further in a letter he just sent him. “I call upon you to establish the Institute for Jewish Heroism, where you will teach Jewish pride, and restore this might to the IDF,” he wrote.

Tens of thousands of Jewish youngsters from Israel and the Diaspora are preparing to take part in summer programs with all sorts of organizations. Does Ben-Ari really foresee a day when parents will entrust their teenagers for a month-long stint with the Shalom Eisner Institute for Jewish Heroism?


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