The soldier’s father; Photo credit: Honenu
Sunday, August 22, 2021, 9:49 Last week, the Speaker of the Knesset, MK Mickey Levy, requested that the Defense Minister clarify the rights of members of Knesset and the proper conduct towards them, to soldiers serving in Yehuda and Shomron. In response, the father of the Golani soldier recently assaulted by Member of Knesset Ahmad Tibi in Hebron wrote a letter to MK Levy asking him to censure the conduct of MK Tibi towards his son.
In a publicized video clip of the assault, MK Tibi is seen arriving with a large group of Arabs and walking towards the Jewish Community of Hebron. The soldier, who was stationed at a guard post at the site, approached the group and demanded that nobody pass him, according to orders from his commanders. MK Tibi shouted at the soldier, hit his arms, and created a disturbance at the site. The incident occurred on Shabbat, Saturday, August 14, and the following day the soldier’s father filed a complaint with the police.
The letter to MK Levy
The father described the assault in his letter to MK Levy: “My son, a soldier, respectfully asked MK Tibi (who was accompanied by many Palestinians) to wait while authorization [to enter a Jewish area of Hebron] was clarified. Nevertheless, without waiting, even for a moment, MK [Tibi] defiantly advanced, then started to act violently, and assaulted my son, a soldier, by hitting him hard on his arms, shouting at him ‘chatzuf’ [impudent], and humiliating him in front of many people.”
The father mentioned that it is well-known that delays are likely at checkpoints “and in any event, being a member of Knesset does not grant any member the right to act violently and recklessly as MK Tibi did.”
The father added that the disregard of the violent act towards his son is infuriating: “Instead of hearing across-the-board condemnation from the Knesset of MK Tibi’s conduct, it hurts to hear members of Knesset attacking the IDF and its soldiers. It was especially painful to hear that a news item has been publicized, stating that his honor (Speaker of the Knesset) is entreating the Defense Minister to examine whether MK Tibi’s freedom of movement had been violated in Hebron.
“I must tell you that I was not hurt by his honor’s demand, but rather by the fact that alongside the assertive demand there was only silence with regard to the blow which the MK gave to my son, the soldier. Sir, if you censure the violation of freedom of movement, and on the other hand remain silent regarding the blow the MK gave to a soldier, then, sir, with your silence you legitimize the blow. Do you, sir, reason that an MK is allowed to hit a soldier who does not allow him to pass? Sir, why are you silent?
“I would expect the Speaker of the Knesset, who is entrusted with guarding the symbols of the State, to also protect the dignity of my son, whose uniform and weapon constitute a symbol of the State. As it is important to ensure that members of the Knesset have freedom of movement, to the same extent limits must be clarified, and no circumstances justify or allow a member of Knesset to act violently and to assault, especially not to assault an IDF soldier.”
Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is assisting the family: “The silence from members of Knesset and their failure to denounce MK Tibi are shocking. This situation constitutes a nadir for the Israeli Knesset. Anyone with any sense sees a baseless assault by MK Tibi on an IDF soldier in the video clip of the incident. The attempt to turn the assailant into the victim, as if his freedom of movement had been violated, is a bald-faced lie. Verifying authorization to pass a checkpoint is a necessary act even when a high-ranking personage is involved.”