Bereaved Families to Israeli Government: You Haven’t Learned the Lessons of Second Lebanon War

Families who lost their sons in the summer of 2006 remind that the Winograd Report recommended that the political leadership demand a full picture of security issues on the agenda.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
The Second Lebanon War, 2006.
The Second Lebanon War, 2006.Credit: Flash 90
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

A number of bereaved families turned to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and ministers in a call to implement the suggestions of the Winograd Report that scrutinized the government's conduct during the Second Lebanon War.

"This letter has been written 'with our sons' blood,' so that we don’t let any more families in Israel enter this closed off and respectable club of families whose sons have died defending the country," they wrote in a Thursday letter. "Today, 10 years after our sons didn't return from that war, it seems that you almost haven’t learned anything from that war and the Winograd Commission Report that investigated the report."

The families mentioned some of the commission's recommendations, including one to the political leadership to demand "a full picture of situation assessments and analyzed alternatives regarding important security or diplomatic issues on the agenda" that would guide and direct the actions of defense establishment professionals.

"The conclusions and recommendations were mainly meant for you to learn and implement them, so that in future wars – which have unfortunately taken place and are still awaiting us – these failures and oversights won't matter," the wrote.

The families called on the government to meet and discuss the Winograd Report and to implement its recommendations.

One of the letter's signatories was Chaim Tzemach, the father of Oz Tzemach, an Armored Corps soldier who was killed by an anti-tank missile during the Second Lebanon War and was awarded a citation for his actions.

"Unfortunately we've become the gatekeepers of this country, and we've paid a very, very high price, and we intend to guard it [Israel] vehemently," Tzemach told Haaretz. "Our feeling is that the army had greatly improved since the war, but when there's talk of the cabinet and the government, we get a feeling that they don’t know what they're approaching – and that they're also not ready for what will come."

"The political leadership hasn’t learned – and it's the one that determines fates. It's the one that activates. The thing that hurts me the most is that the minute they made a decision, they don’t remember us at all," he added.

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