Mofaz Avoiding Discussion on Wounded Soldier's Abandonment

Mofaz served as IDF chief of staff at the time, and was personally present as the army prepared for a rescue attempt.

The chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima ), has been stalling for seven months a discussion marking a decade since the abandonment of wounded IDF soldier Madhat Yusuf at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus and his subsequent death. Mofaz served as IDF chief of staff at the time, and was personally present as the army prepared for a rescue attempt. The item was placed on the committee's agenda by the Knesset as early as October, but still no date has been set.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union ), who proposed to discuss Yusuf's death, said he believes the delay has to with Mofaz's direct link to the incident and his preference not to bring it up for public discussion again. Last week, Eldad wrote to the committee's director, Shmuel Latko, to protest the delay. "Since the current chairman of the committee was closely involved in the incident at the time, his fear of discussing it once more is perfectly clear," Eldad wrote. "This fear cannot override his legal duties."

Mofaz was elected as the committee's chairman about a month after the Knesset placed discussion of Yusuf's death on its agenda. Eldad noted in his letter that his last request, about six months ago, went unanswered. Mofaz's associates yesterday confirmed that no date has been set for the discussion yet, but rejected the claims of personal motives. The committee is one of the busiest in the Knesset, and many items on the agenda get delayed for many months.

The "Thou shalt not forsake" organization, which works at restoring the value of camaraderie to the IDF and has urged the committee to discuss the issue, said it is considering petitioning the Supreme Court. "We've been dealing with this case for 10 years now," said one of the group members, Haim Greenberg. "We keep in touch with the family and hold protests by the army headquarters. What does Mofaz think when he holds back the discussion? Does he think the issue will go away? Although he is what he is, Mofaz is still bound by law to fulfill the decision of the Knesset."

Mofaz's spokesman said that the committee's agenda was set by the degree to which items contributed to national security and by their urgency, and not by any other criteria.