‘If we fought like Putin my son would be alive’

In the current public firestorm over Breaking the Silence, the NGO that libels the IDF abroad, Israelis by the hundreds have been posting their own ‘breaking the silence’ Facebook posts. Some of these are posts that tell stories of inappropriate behavior by soldiers, but most appear to be the opposite: stories of the IDF’s sometimes excessive humaneness in the battlefield, and in various activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

A post in this genre that stands out poignantly was written Sunday by Ofer Mendelovich, whose son, Oz, was killed in the battle of Shejaiya in Gaza, during Operation Protective Edge.

“I am also breaking the silence,” wrote Mendelovich. “Instead of wiping out the neighborhood of Shejaiya, a Golani Brigade force entered it in a careful and selective way, to look for tunnels, for fear of hurting innocents.

“In the course of that selective search operation, our son Ozi and 12 other Golani warriors were killed, on the accursed night of July 20, 2014,” the bereaved father continued.

“If the neighborhood had been combed with live fire, and if its land cover had been massively shaved, ‘Putin style,’ before the warriors entered, our son would have stayed alive… But the attitude that guided the IDF in the operation was, is, and always will be ‘purity of arms’ and avoiding harming innocents even if soldiers’ lives must be risked.”

Thirteen Golani warriors were killed on the battle, which was the bloodiest of Operation Protective Edge.