'Those who sent our children into battle still refuse to accept responsibility'
Despite failures "in preparedness and in the way we utilized military force" in the Second Lebanon War, the war itself "was just and ended an unacceptable reality in the north," GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said yesterday.
He was speaking at a memorial for whose who fell during the war organized by the bereaved parents, and which took place at Mount Adir, on the northern border. Next week marks the third anniversary of the war's outbreak.
Eizenkot said the reality in the north before the war was "one in which Hezbollah was deployed along the border, initiated terrorist attacks once every few months and interpreted our wish for a quiet life as a weakness to be exploited."
"The description [Hezbollah] used for Israel at that time - a spider web - is no longer being used," he continued. "Since then, the enemy has seen itself facing an army that knows how to evaluate its capabilities critically and carry out thorough corrections to improve its readiness and its military capabilities, in order to deter the enemy, prevent terror attacks and defend the border in a professional and efficient way."
Approximately 70 bereaved families participated in the event. In the future, there are plans for a memorial to be built at the site, which overlooks the area where many of the war's battles were fought. Some of the parents started the day by marching from the bottom of the mountain to the top as a way of commemorating the soldiers who fell in the war.
David Einhorn, whose son, Staff Sgt. Yonatan Einhorn, was killed near the village of Ayta al-Sha'ab, represented the bereaved families at the ceremony. "This mountain overlooks southern Lebanon, where the evil started three years ago, but also the special beauty of the landscape of northern Israel, for whose sake the soldiers went to battle," he said.
"Our children went to war equipped with the best tools of war: love for the homeland, determination [to fight] the battle that faced them, preparedness for any mission, readiness to fight the cruel enemy, dedication, high motivation and willingness to sacrifice," Einhorn continued. "Unfortunately, the hope we had placed in our leadership disappointed us, and those who should have spoken disappeared, while those who should have stayed quiet were boastful. In the end, all those who sent our children into bitter and difficult battles still refuse to this day to recognize the concept of responsibility."
Einhorn charged that there are still people in the capital who would like to forget the war and its consequences. "We will see this at the official ceremony on Mount Herzl - we will see who remembers those who fell for their country and who has forgotten about them," he said.
Danielle Dan, the mother of Staff Sgt. Elad Dan, who was killed in Bint Jbail, said that "every single day is a hard and painful one. Personally, I have never found solace in the ceremonies and events. If we had invested the energy that we are putting into commemoration into peace instead, we would be in a different place today."