The need for Honenu

Monday, November 28, 2016, 22:19 On the evening of Monday, November 28, Israeli Channel 2 program “Uvda” broadcast an investigative report on the case of Elor Azariya, the IDF soldier who is being brought to trial for shooting a terrorist at the scene of a terror attack in Hevron. The Honenu organization and the legal counsel it provides to IDF soldiers was mentioned during the program. In response to the program Honenu director Shmuel Meidad explained why he founded the organization and what Honenu’s connection to Azariya’s trial is: “I founded Honenu approximately 15 years ago in order to assist soldiers, policemen and civilians who encountered legal difficulties due to the complex security situation and the realities of life surrounding us. One of the incidents which pushed me to found the organization was the murder of Dov Dribben, Hy”d, a soldier and agriculturalist who was assaulted by terrorists near his home in Havat Maon. A slight hesitation to open fire cost him his life. “Another event which stands before my eyes every day in my work is the death of Charlie Shlush, a policeman in the Yamam (special police counter-terrorism unit), in 1990. He bravely pursued a terrorist and opened fire with the intent to injure, not to kill, which cost him his life because the terrorist took advantage of the situation and murdered him,” said Meidad. (See details below.) Meidad explained the connection between founding Honenu and Azariya’s case. “I thought, if Yamam policemen and members of other elite units find their deaths due to hesitation caused by international pressure, including from anti-Semitic organizations who want to damage the IDF, its morale and Israel’s security, there needs to be an organization to provide assistance and to give support to the IDF and its soldiers, to policemen, and to civilians. In Israel’s reality they are all on the front line. I reason that Elor Azariya’s case fits exactly in this category and if the situation had been slightly different Elor’s family would today be counted among the bereaved families of fallen soldiers.” In conclusion Meidad described a similar incident: “In April 2004 Border Policeman Kfir Ohayon, Hy”d, was killed at the Erez Checkpoint [one of the entrances to the Gaza Strip] because of the left-wing organizations that were interfering with his duties as a border policeman at a checkpoint two days previously. He paid for it with his life.” (See details below.) Honenu is currently distributing “legal first aid” cards to IDF soldiers. The cards explain their basic legal rights and include Honenu’s hotline number which operates 24 hours a day. Over the past week alone Honenu distributed hundreds of cards to soldiers throughout Yehuda and Shomron. See here for a similar campaign from November 2014. In response to claims made on the ‘Uvda’ investigative program Honenu reported that, “Honenu is pleased to assist IDF soldiers and officers with professional legal counsel by the best attorneys in Israel and to assist the IDF and its soldiers to achieve its goals and fulfill its missions.” Shalom (Charlie) Shlush, Hy”d Shalom (Charlie) Shlush, a policeman in the Yamam (special police counter-terrorism unit) was murdered on October 21, 1990, as he attempted to neutralize an Arab terrorist who had stabbed a female soldier in the Baka neighborhood of Jerusalem. Shlush followed the strict open-fire orders, fired into the air, then at the terrorist’s legs and the terrorist still advanced. The terrorist stabbed and murdered Shlush, hy”d. Kfir Ohayon, Hy”d In April, 2004, at the Erez Checkpoint, one of the entrances to the Gaza Strip, an Arab worker suspected of carrying an explosive belt refused to undergo a security check. Kfir Ohayon, the checkpoint’s squad commander, aimed his weapon at the Arab and forced him to undergo the check.  (See a Honenu promotional video here in which the incident is described at 0:59.) A left-wing activist present on the scene complained about Ohayon’s conduct. Subsequently his commanders reprimanded him and also threatened to open an investigative into his actions. That evening Kfir phoned his father and told him about the pressure he felt due to the threat of the investigation. Two days later a terrorist with an explosive belt entered the same checkpoint. The soldiers on duty were concerned about the repercussions of a security check perceived to be unnecessarily stringent and were therefore hesitant to act. The Arab approached the soldiers and detonated his belt. Kfir, Hy”d, was killed at the scene. Avi Ohayon, Kfir’s father, regrets not being aware that there is an organization dedicated to assisting soldiers, and others, who face dilemmas such as the one that cost his son’s life: “I have one regret – that I didn’t know them about Honenu. Because I am positive that the incident two days previously had a very profound effect on Kfir. He lost self confidence, no doubt about it, as did the other soldiers with him.” The quote is taken from the Honenu promotional video mentioned above (Avi Ohayon speaks at 2:08) and translated by Honenu.

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