Officer Cadet Dismissed for Comments Supporting Rabin’s Murder

The resident of a West Bank settlement cited the Altalena incident during the War of Independence.

Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The Israel Defense Forces dismissed a cadet from an officers' course Tuesday after he suggested that the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was justified.

“Rabin could have been killed years before because he took part in the shelling in which Jews were murdered on the ship the Altalena,” he reportedly said.

The cadet, a resident of a Jewish settlement in the South Hebron Hills, was referring to the army’s 1948 firing on an arms ship belonging to the Irgun prestate underground. The authorities aimed to show there was only one army in the new state; Rabin was a commander at the time.

The cadet, from the Kfir Brigade’s ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yehuda battalion, did not deny he made the statement. He was due to complete the first stage of the combat officers' course in a week; he would then command a platoon in the infantry brigade.

As in most IDF units recently, the officers' school held ceremonies marking the 20th anniversary of Rabin’s assassination. When leaving a ceremony at his base Sunday, the cadet and colleagues from his company reportedly began talking about Rabin, who was killed by a right-wing extremist.

Several of the cadet’s colleagues reported his comments to their commanders and the matter was taken up by a committee headed by the school’s head.

Hans Chaim Pinn / Government Press Office

“We have zero tolerance for statements like that, especially when they come after days of discussions on the anniversary of Rabin’s murder,” a senior IDF officer told Haaretz. “That’s not what we teach at officers’ school.”

The decision to dismiss was taken quickly and accepted at every level of command that dealt with the matter, the officer said. The officers’ school also recommended that the cadet not be placed in a combat position in the future, though a final decision was up to the brigade’s commanders.

The cadet's commanders described him as talented and intelligent, but they said he suffered discipline problems during the course.