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Monday, April 23, 2007

Soldiers' blood from Tel Aviv redder than in Samaria

As most of you probably know already, many of the soldiers who were heroes in last summer's war in Lebanon came from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. People like Roi Klein HY"D and Amihai Merhavia HY"D, who came from Eli in Samaria, made up a disproportionate number of the casualties in last summer's war (and make up a disproportionate number of IDF combat troops generally, especially given that only one soldier in eight is a combat soldier - source for that information, a senior IDF officer whose name I cannot disclose). It has long been the case in Israel that a disproportionate number of the combat soldiers are from national religious homes - and often from Judea and Samaria.

However, the IDF has decided that despite that fact, it will not build memorials to fallen soldiers in Judea and Samaria anymore. One was built in the Jordan Valley many years ago, but as the mother of Uri Biton HY"D, who fell in Lebanon in 1997, found out the hard way, the IDF is a little less appreciative of casualties from over the green line these days:
This month, the Defense Ministry's Commemoration Committee refused a request by the Samaria Regional Council to fund a memorial park and monument for the 14 soldiers and 44 other victims from Samaria who have been killed in battle or terror attacks.

In a letter it sent the council, the committee stated that a 1998 law prevented it from funding such projects in Judea and Samaria. It added that it would consider funding such a project within areas in Israel that did fall under its jurisdiction. Both council spokeswoman Ahuva Shilo and Levana said the response was "outrageous."

Spokesman for the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip Yishai Hollender added that to the best of his knowledge, there was no public monument to fallen soldiers in all of the West Bank, even though some 80 soldiers from the area had been killed by the enemy since 1982.

The government, however, did fund one memorial to fallen soldiers in the Jordan Valley in the late 1970s, Shilo said.

Levana said that a memorial to her son elsewhere in the country would not have the same impact for her as one that was close to home. Her son had lived in their Samaria settlement of Yakir since he was five, said Levana. "It is the home he knew and it is where we want to remember him," said Levana.

When he signed up for the army, no one minded that he was from Samaria, said Levana. "So why should the army discriminate against him and the others now that they are dead, just because they lived beyond the Green Line?" she asked.

"If he had come from Tel Aviv, this would not be a problem," said Levana, the mother of four other boys. She said she had one son in the army now and another two who had served. Uri, she said, was her oldest.
Is the blood of Jewish soldiers from Tel Aviv redder than the blood of Jewish soldiers from Samaria? Apparently, the IDF and the Knesset think that it is. And that is a sad commentary on how not united Israel is as Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day) starts this evening.


At 11:53 PM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...

This is unconscionable. What have the IDF officials and Knesset sunk to? They keep going down, and never reach bottom. Would Olmert *spit* have any input on this?

That these heroes, like Roi Kline HY"D and Amihl Merhavia HY"D and their survivors are spit on is sick, while the coffee bars in Tel Aviv are full.


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