Killed in a Pointless War in Gaza, 73 Israelis Won't Get the Chance to Vote

What did they die for? In whose name and to what purpose? Was their death necessary? Was it for nothing?

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IDF soldiers facing Gaza during Operation Defensive Edge, on Aug. 3, 2014.Credit: Reuters

Israel is heading for an election, with ideological rifts serving as the basis for decisions as to whom to vote for. These fissures cover the realms of security and diplomatic processes; economic and social questions; democracy and the rule of law; and the functioning of the government and the person leading it.

Only one topic is taboo, not even mentioned, although it relates to the most dramatic and significant event that took place in the short life of the outgoing Knesset and government. This is not the proverbial elephant in the room, rather an enormous elephant that was ejected from the room, maybe since it was enfolded in an almost total consensus.

I’m referring to last summer’s war, Operation Protective Edge, which cost the lives of 73 Israeli soldiers and civilians. The latest estimates are that it also cost the lives of 2,023 Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip. I would have liked to relate to them as well, but instead of a single article I would have required the space of an entire newspaper for that.

I will therefore return to the 73 Israeli casualties of the war. Besides their families, friends, acquaintances and loved ones, hardly anyone talks about them even though only a few months have passed since their death.

I don’t want to spoil the celebration of “democracy” or disrupt the “harmony” mentioned by the prime minister, touting the way the war was conducted as the sole achievement of his government in the speech he made when announcing the early elections. I would nevertheless like to devote a few minutes of precious time to the fallen victims. I believe they deserve it.

These are their names: Eitan Barak; Adar Barsano; Amotz Greenberg; Bar Rahav; Bnaya Rubel; Oren Simcha Noach; Ben Itzhak Ounanounou; Daniel Pomerantz; Daniel Mondshine; Shachar Tase; Max Steinberg; Tzafrir Baror; Gilad Rozenthal Yakoby; Tsvi Kaplan; Oz Mendelovich; Nissim Sean Carmeli; Jordan Bensemhoun; Moshe Malko; Tal Ifrach; Yuval Dagan; Nadav Goldmacher; Yuval Haiman; Bayhesain Kshaun; Oded Ben Sira; Dolev Keidar; Ohad Shemesh; Avitar Moshe Torjamin; Dmitri Levitas; Paz Eliyahu; Natan Cohen; Shahar Dauber; Li Mat; Yair Ashkenazi Oron Shaul; Guy Levi; Guy Boyland; Roy Peles; Amit Yeori; Avraham Grintzvaig; Gal Bason; Rami Kahlon; Liad Lavi; Barak Refael Degorker; Moshe Davino; Adi Briga; Niran Cohen; Meidan Maymon Biton; Eliav Eliyau Haim Kahlon; Dor Dery; Sagi Erez; Barkey Ishai Shor; Daniel Kedmi; Nadav Raimond; Matan Gotlib; Omer Hay; Guy Algranati; Shay Kushnir; Daniel Marash; Omri Tal; Noam Rosenthal; Liran Adir; Liel Gidoni; Benaya Sarel; Hadar Goldin; Netanel Maman; Shachar Shalev; Dror Khenin; Ouda Lafi al-Waj; Narakorn Kittiyangku; Daniel Tragerman; Ze’ev Etzion; Shahar Melemed.

Blessed be their memory.

What did they die for? In whose name and to what purpose? Was their death necessary? Was it for nothing? What were the goals of the war which took their lives? Were those goals set at the beginning or changed while it was going on? Were any goals even formulated? Were the objectives, if any, partially or completely attained? Were any of the goals achieved?

Was this an essential war? Was it a war of choice? Was the government of Israel dragged into it? Did it initiate the war? What or whom did it serve? Was it preventable? Could it have been shortened? Did the government and defense establishment make adequate preparations for it? Were they caught by surprise?

Did the war further Israel’s security interests? Did it further Israel’s diplomatic interests? Did it improve Israel’s tactical or strategic positions? Why did it stop abruptly and under what conditions? Could it have been stopped earlier?

There are many questions. There are also 73 victims. And no one will stand up and say a word.

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