The Israeli army’s deputy chief of staff Major General Yair Golan gave a Holocaust Remembrance Day address at Tel Yitzhak. He said:
“The Holocaust should bring us to ponder our public lives and, furthermore, it must lead anyone who is capable of taking public responsibility to do so. Because if there is one thing that is scary in remembering the Holocaust, it is noticing horrific processes which developed in Europe – particularly in Germany – 70, 80, and 90 years ago, and finding remnants of that here among us in the year 2016.
“The Holocaust, in my view, must lead us to deep soul-searching about the nature of man. It must bring us to conduct some soul-searching as to the responsibility of leadership and the quality of our society. It must lead us to fundamentally rethink how we, here and now, behave towards the other.
“There is nothing easier and simpler than in changing the other. There is nothing easier and simpler than fear-mongering and threatening. There is nothing easier and simpler than in behaving like beasts, becoming morally corrupt, and sanctimoniousness.
“On Holocaust Remembrance Day, it is worthwhile to ponder our capacity to uproot the first signs of intolerance, violence, and self-destruction that arise on the path to moral degradation.
“For all intents and purposes, Holocaust Remembrance Day is an opportunity for soul-searching. If Yom Kippur is the day of individual soul-searching, then it is imperative that Holocaust Remembrance Day be a day of national soul-searching, and this national soul-searching should include phenomena that are disruptive.”
Golan made reference to the Hebron incident in which an IDF infantryman was filmed shooting dead a wounded Palestinian assailant who was on the ground and had ceased to pose a threat . . .
“We very much believe in the justice of our cause, but not everything we do is just,” Golan said. “We are certain of the high level of morality in the IDF as an organization, and we do not ignore exceptions by individuals. We demand from our soldiers the same that we demand of ourselves, and we insist that upstanding behavior and setting an example for everyone become second nature for every commander.
“On Holocaust Remembrance Day, as we remember the six million of our people who were slaughtered in Europe, it is incumbent upon us to remember the 6.5 million, those living now, and to ask ourselves what is the purpose of our return to our land, what is appropriate to sanctify and what is not, what is proper to praise and what is not”.
It is reported that Israel’s opposition leader, Isaac Herzog, praised Golan as a “courageous commander”.
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