Sunday, June 17, 2012



Even thirty years after an Israeli tank unit was ambushed by Syrian troops, details of the tragic battle at  Sultan Yaakov  are still hard, if not impossible, to access. The battle took place in Lebanon during the first Lebanon War. The sad result: 20 killed Israeli soldiers, 30 soldieres were injured and several were kidnapped by the Syrians. One of them Zecharia Baumel whose mother is now searching for unanswered questions. 

Plenty of material on the battle of Sultan Yaakov can be found but the strange thing is: You will never really find all questions answered nor all details given. I am not going to deep into the matter now but in a later article. Nevertheless, I would like to point out that the surviving soldiers of the battle still keep quiet until today. None of them is willing to talk about what really happened during the battle. It seems as if those soldiers don't want to give room for accusations and rather retain their honour. But not only the survivors keep quiet. Also the Israeli government and army don't provide the public with too many information. Usually the government acts very fast by launching investigation committees but not in the case of Sultan Yaakov. Everyone just kept silent and thus it doesn't surprise very much that the file is still treated as "top secret". Or in other words, we don't know what really happened at Sultan Yaakov. 

Two of the kidnapped soldiers were exchanged later on but the three soldiers Zecharia Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehudah Katz never returned. Their parents accuse the Syrians of keeping them in jail. Who knows whether they are alive or dead. 

Israel's problem is that army generals retire and then start a political career. From a general into the Knesset. First the general will keep quiet about his actions and failures and, as a politician (lets say as Minister of Defense), he even has better opportunities to get away with former failures. For centuries, the same politicians have been elected into the Knesset and for centuries, the same Israeli journalists have been reporting about politics. The two sides know each other well and, unfortunately, only a few journalists dare to ask questions.  

Let me give you a present example: 

We all know that Gilad Shalit wasn't a hero. He neither suffered in the Hamas jail nor did he prove himself as a great fighter. Instead he was watching "National Geographic" and eating Hummus. There are claims that while Shalit's comrades were fighting Palestinian intruders, Shalit himself was hiding inside a tank. The question is: What did really happen when two of Shalit's comrades were killed and Shalit himself was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists ?  

Gilad Shalit's father Noam has been successfully blocking any meeting between the parents of the two dead soldiers and his son. Apparently there are good reasons for not letting those parents talk to Gilad. It goes without saying that Gilad Shalit was locked up for several years by Hamas but, on the other hand, the family of the two dead soldiers who died in battle have a right knowing what really happened during the last moments of their son's lives. So far, the Shalit family doesn't seem to care and Israeli journalists don't even raise the question.


No comments:

Post a Comment