“I want you to be united”: The general’s request

The commander of Division 98, who is currently operating in the southern Gaza Strip and has been fighting in Khan Yunis for over two months, Brigadier General Dan Goldfus, gave a short speech yesterday addressing Israel’s political leaders, following a standard media statement regarding the actions of the division in the war, coordinated by the IDF Spokesman and to which reporters and media members were summoned.

In his words, Goldfus carried a commitment and a request: First, he promised that the IDF would carry out the tasks assigned to it in any situation and at any price, while committing to take responsibility for the mistakes that have taken place so far. And secondly, Goldfus asked and demanded that the political leadership be worthy of the sacrifice, and of the fighters who had sacrificed their lives. “You must make sure we don’t go back to October 6th, and that all the effort and the sacrifice will not be in vain. Put it in your head very well, at every hour of the day. From the bleeding heart of a warrior, I ask you to be united, to push the extreme and to embrace the unity and the togetherness. We found it on the battlefield and are not going to give it up. Make this worth it.” Indeed, the stories that are being published every day by the fighters returning from the front in the Gaza Strip reflect the great brotherhood of soldiers that sweeps our army at all times.

This speech is problematic, as military officers are not supposed to address political issues and should not address the influence of politicians on them. The IDF has already renounced the statements made without authorization, and it has been announced that goldfus will be invited to a clarification; this may well cost Goldfus with a promotion or even worse, while he is one of the most prominent officers to lead so far in the war. But there is no doubt that Goldfus knew that this might be the result of what he said when he said it, which reinforces the authenticity of his words.

Indeed, many in the political system, from all sides and parties, have responded to Goldfus’s request with warmth and respect, and not with criticism – from ministers Arbel and Smotrich to Yair Golan. There is no doubt about the correctness of Golpfus words, and it would be better if the politicians said (and implemented) them, rather than military personnel.

To respond – rxpuyhi@gmail.com

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