Monday, August 27, 2007
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 36 Comments
Many people know some of the story of Major Roi Klein, the father of two children, who jumped on a grenade during the fighting in Bint Jebail, shouted "Shema Yisrael" and in doing so shielded the men in his unit with his body. Major Roi Klein had gone in pursuit of IDF soldiers captured by Hizbullah. He was buried on his 31st birthday.
Major Roi Klein was the highest ranking officer on the scene and yet that was not unusual because in Israel, officers lead from the front rather than from the back. Israel was built on that tradition. The contrast to Olmert who sat in his office and his sons partied in New York and Paris while soldiers deprived of equipment and resources fought and died could not be greater.
Some people know that Major Roi Klein was a resident of the community of Harisha near the settlement of Eli slated for destruction. Some know that Major Roi Klein's widow Sarah and his two children are at risk of being evicted from their homes by a demand from Peace Now, whose membership includes Olmert's wife and lesbian daughter.
Fewer people know that Major Roi Klein did not have to die. Major Roi Klein had repeatedly asked his superior for permission to clear the area with air support or direct assault on Bint Jebail which harbored a nest of Hizbullah terrorists. He was refused permission because he was told it would endanger possible Arab civilians in the area. Instead his squad was ordered to advance directly into enemy fire. The cost of that refusal was the death of all those IDF soldiers at Bint Jebail including Major Roi Klein.
The story of Major Roi Klein's death is often told but what is not told is that he did not die in that instant and his last words were not Shema Yisrael. His last words before throwing himself on the grenade were Shema Yisrael. He did not however die immediately and before he did die, he expressed his bitterness and frustration at the way the lives of his men were thrown away by the orders that placed the lives of Arabs over the lives of Israeli soldiers.
Major Roi Klein was a hero but he did not have to die. The Battle at Bint Jebail did not have to end the way it did. The determination of a government and its politicized military generals to put public relations ahead of strategy and victory insured disaster. The Olmert government has been all too willing to give Major Roi Klein a medal but they won't even let his surviving family live in peace. They are willing to hold memorial ceremonies for the dead but not to hold themselves accountable for how those men died.
Time and time again, the Olmert government has placed the lives of Arab enemies over the lives of Israeli soldiers and civilians. The price for that has been paid in blood each time. Our blood. While the government remains unaccountable, the victims of their policies die and are crippled in Sderot and on the front lines of the war. It is time for the government to pay the price with their positions and their jobs.