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Israel - Troops Were Told to Kill Themselves to Avoid Capture in Gaza War

Published on: January 26, 2009 12:49 PM
By: The Australian
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IDF troops in operationIDF troops in operation

Israel - Israeli soldiers fighting in the Gaza Strip war this month were ordered to kill themselves rather than be captured, and if necessary to kill any Israeli soldier they saw being taken into captivity, the Yediot Achronot newspaper has reported.

“No matter what happens, no one will be kidnapped,” the paper quotes one company commander telling his troops before the fighting began. “We will not have a Gilad Shalit 2.”

Corporal Shalit, the Israeli soldier taken prisoner three years ago, is being held by Hamas, which is demanding the release of more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds convicted of terrorism, in exchange for his release.

The newspaper quotes similar orders given in different Israeli field units, which reportedly reflect a new army policy.

In the past, there were standing orders, known as “Hannibal mode”, for firing at a vehicle taking Israeli troops into captivity to disable it and permit a rescue team to reach it, even at risk to the captive soldiers inside the vehicle. The new orders tighten those instructions, reportedly by permitting the vehicle to be blown up.

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A soldier in a commando unit that operated behind Hamas lines said his unit was equipped with “special weapons”. “We were instructed to use them also against any vehicle carrying a kidnapped soldier,” he said.

And an Israeli company commander told the newspaper he had instructed his men to resist being taken prisoner “even if this costs you your life”.

Israel’s Channel Ten television station broadcast a recording of a battalion commander instructing his men just before they invaded the Gaza Strip, in which he says one of Hamas’s main goals was to capture soldiers to exchange for imprisoned terrorists. “No soldier from the battalion will be kidnapped, even if that means he blows up on his own grenade together with whoever wants to take him,” the commander says.

Israeli officers reported several attempts, none successful, to kidnap soldiers during the house-to-house fighting in Gaza and to take them away through tunnels.

In its wars with Arab countries, Israel has had prisoners taken, but at the end of the fighting all prisoners on both sides have been exchanged. But in its conflict with militant groups in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, Israel has had to give up hundreds of prisoners—mostly Palestinian, sometimes Lebanese—in exchange for a handful of Israeli captives or for the bodies of dead soldiers.

Differing views about the stricter Hannibal mode were voiced by two fathers of soldiers who were taken captive by Hezbollah in Lebanon after being mortally wounded.

It was an absolutely logical decision, said Haim Avrahami. “Better to pay the price of a soldier and spare him, his family and the nation the awful agony (of his imprisonment).”

But Zvi Regev, father of one of the two soldiers whose capture by Hezbollah in 2006 touched off a month-long war in Lebanon, condemned the new instructions.

“We must leave a window of hope that the soldier will return,” he said. “I’m shocked just to hear of the possibility that our soldiers will get orders to fire on other soldiers of ours.”

The bodies of the two men’s sons were returned in exchange for hundreds of Arab prisoners.



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Read Comments (34)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 26, 2009 at 01:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Frankly, reading this made we want to cry. The people the IDF fight are so savage and evil, that soldiers have to contemplate killing themselves so that they do not fall into the hands of animal savages that would torture just for the sake of abusing and torturing an "infidel". When will world ever come to see that the people we wage the war against terror against are inhuman and do not behave with even the most minimal of humanitarian standards? If we don;t face it when ti comes to Israel, it will come to haunt the US and all Western societies, as we have increasingly seen in world events.....

2

 Jan 26, 2009 at 01:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Not suprising coming from the heretic Israeli government. Why should they take halacha into consideration when their whole philosophy is against the Torah and its ruling.

3

 Jan 26, 2009 at 12:58 PM Eli Says:

This is against Halacha, and is suicide by all means. this should be condemned and protested....

4

 Jan 26, 2009 at 01:27 PM Anonymous Says:

Don't you people understand what's this is?

For crying out loud, Jews are suppose to be able to read between the lines and analyze information.

C'mon, Yidden, use your heads and understand why this is being leaked now!

5

 Jan 26, 2009 at 01:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Frankly, reading this made we want to cry. The people the IDF fight are so savage and evil, that soldiers have to contemplate killing themselves so that they do not fall into the hands of animal savages that would torture just for the sake of abusing and torturing an "infidel". When will world ever come to see that the people we wage the war against terror against are inhuman and do not behave with even the most minimal of humanitarian standards? If we don;t face it when ti comes to Israel, it will come to haunt the US and all Western societies, as we have increasingly seen in world events.....

dont cry when it will haunt the usa. evrthing will change. even obama will change completly his policeis much worse then bush. it looks to me that in that situation it will be a fight crisions agains muslim.

6

 Jan 26, 2009 at 01:26 PM Anonymous Says:

Sorry #3, you are woefully mistaken. Look in Shmuel about how Shaul committed suicide rather than face the pain and dgredation which would have be brought upon him by being captured. Sorry to say, knowing how unlikely it is to return a live captive, better to be granted a Jewish burial than be treated like a lump of dead garbage!

7

 Jan 26, 2009 at 01:46 PM Anonymous Says:

I have a better eitza. why doesn't the israeli government implement its own policy on the terrorists it captures. why r we taking prisoners in the first place to have anything to offer. and if its to get info. get it and then kill em. if we have nothing to trade back then they have no incentive to capture.
what a bizzare world. what's next sending our soliders in with bombs strapped to them. this is what happens when we worry more about world opinion and getting re elected then a yiddeshe neshoma. rachmona nitzlon.. even ben gurion would be turning over in his grave. hitler and arafat are laughing in hell.

8

 Jan 26, 2009 at 01:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Frankly, reading this made we want to cry. The people the IDF fight are so savage and evil, that soldiers have to contemplate killing themselves so that they do not fall into the hands of animal savages that would torture just for the sake of abusing and torturing an "infidel". When will world ever come to see that the people we wage the war against terror against are inhuman and do not behave with even the most minimal of humanitarian standards? If we don;t face it when ti comes to Israel, it will come to haunt the US and all Western societies, as we have increasingly seen in world events.....

evil? Did you fall and hit your head. You can disagree with this policy and it also raises halachic questions, but evil to avoid being taken captive. Was it also evil to enter Gaza knowing that some Israeli soldiers would die? Was it illegal because some Gazans would die?

9

 Jan 26, 2009 at 01:32 PM Anonymous Says:

If this report is true I think those Tziyoinim reached rock bottom and Its time to give up that whole Medineh!

10

 Jan 26, 2009 at 02:07 PM SHITISM Says:

Reply to #3  
Eli Says:

This is against Halacha, and is suicide by all means. this should be condemned and protested....

Shtisim look at shaul hamelech

11

 Jan 26, 2009 at 02:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
Anonymous Says:

evil? Did you fall and hit your head. You can disagree with this policy and it also raises halachic questions, but evil to avoid being taken captive. Was it also evil to enter Gaza knowing that some Israeli soldiers would die? Was it illegal because some Gazans would die?

You misread his post, as did I the first time. He wrote The PEOPLE the IDF fights are evil.

12

 Jan 26, 2009 at 02:04 PM Anonymous Says:

brilliant PR. finally israel is getting something right. arabs have always taken advantage of official israeli policy "no man left behind"
it's a good message to the arabs. it's called deleveraging.

13

 Jan 26, 2009 at 02:15 PM vb Says:

As far as I know, it's permissible to commit suicide if the alternative is endless torture. Don't know of any other cases where this would be permissible though.

14

 Jan 26, 2009 at 02:24 PM Dr. Kevorkian Says:

If it means endless torture then halacha permits it .

15

 Jan 26, 2009 at 02:33 PM Askipeh Hanidreses Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Frankly, reading this made we want to cry. The people the IDF fight are so savage and evil, that soldiers have to contemplate killing themselves so that they do not fall into the hands of animal savages that would torture just for the sake of abusing and torturing an "infidel". When will world ever come to see that the people we wage the war against terror against are inhuman and do not behave with even the most minimal of humanitarian standards? If we don;t face it when ti comes to Israel, it will come to haunt the US and all Western societies, as we have increasingly seen in world events.....

I feel the same way you do and I also wanted to cry. We are dealing with savages and the world pretends that an evil Israel is fighting innocent Arabs. I think Gilad Shalit would have been better off dead then the torture he had/has to endure in the hands of savages. We are being “don” here “dinei nefoshois”. Is there any Rov willing to be “don” such a sheileh? If not, let’s all close our mouth, and hope for the best. The soldiers want to live too, and only they can make such split second decisions.

After reading this, does anyone still think that the army chaplain was wrong to tell the soldiers to fight without rachmoness?

16

 Jan 26, 2009 at 02:56 PM hitman neil Says:

To all of you Bashing the IDF why dont you ask a soldier given the choice of being captured or killing themselves which one would they prefer. I can guarantee that they will choose the latter. Hamas is not the US when they capture you they will torture you and break you down they wont put you in a nice prison cell with 2 hours of gym time everyday outside to work on your tan.

17

 Jan 26, 2009 at 02:46 PM Anonymous Says:

let them put bombs on the 1000 terrorists and drop them by plane into gaza WITHOUT A PARACHUTE

18

 Jan 26, 2009 at 03:28 PM Anonymous Says:

To all the critics ... would you prefer a dead child or a child tortured by the Hamas animals? When G-d willing Gilad Shalit comes home to his family do you think he will be the same good natured kid ?? And I have a son in the IDF!

19

 Jan 26, 2009 at 03:06 PM hitman neil Says:

To all of you Bashing the IDF why dont you ask a soldier given the choice of being captured or killing themselves which one would they prefer. I can guarantee that they will choose the latter. Hamas is not the US when they capture you they will torture you and break you down they wont put you in a nice prison cell with 2 hours of gym time everyday outside to work on your tan.

20

 Jan 26, 2009 at 03:54 PM gila Says:

Of course they should die rather than be captured by Hamas. There is no question here. I only pray that Gilad died a long time ago, rather than suffer more torture. Of course, they will never tell us when he is dead, so we will never know. Pity his poor parents, I think of them all the time. May Hashem have the utmost mercy on these people and put them and the rest of us who care, out of our misery. No other Jewish soldier or civilian can ever be captured alive again by Hamas.

21

 Jan 26, 2009 at 03:35 PM my say Says:

in my opinion i think that they should give an ultimatum shalit should be returned with in a certain amount of time or else isreal with flatten out parts of gaza at a time
additonlaly any rocket fired from gaza ,, that location should be bombed out completly !!

22

 Jan 26, 2009 at 04:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Eli Says:

This is against Halacha, and is suicide by all means. this should be condemned and protested....

Is it okay if I protest and condemn a post that purports to state the definitive halacha on an extremely complex matter in one fragmented sentence?

23

 Jan 26, 2009 at 05:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

Don't you people understand what's this is?

For crying out loud, Jews are suppose to be able to read between the lines and analyze information.

C'mon, Yidden, use your heads and understand why this is being leaked now!

Oh and your so smart pointing it out to everyone

24

 Jan 26, 2009 at 05:28 PM Anonymous Says:

can some one please be mazbir to me why we have 1000's of live prisoners of theirs that give them incentive to take our boys. gimme the old days when if they had 1 of ours we would kill 10 of theirs it worked on the british.why shud our children commit suicid or even wors kill other jewish kids. when this could all be avoided by just having a no take prisoners policy.
explain please what I'm missing.

25

 Jan 26, 2009 at 06:50 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #16  
hitman neil Says:

To all of you Bashing the IDF why dont you ask a soldier given the choice of being captured or killing themselves which one would they prefer. I can guarantee that they will choose the latter. Hamas is not the US when they capture you they will torture you and break you down they wont put you in a nice prison cell with 2 hours of gym time everyday outside to work on your tan.

killing youreself is not a option for jews it doesnt matter what they would rather halacha first

26

 Jan 26, 2009 at 06:50 PM Shaul Hamelech's Death Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Sorry #3, you are woefully mistaken. Look in Shmuel about how Shaul committed suicide rather than face the pain and dgredation which would have be brought upon him by being captured. Sorry to say, knowing how unlikely it is to return a live captive, better to be granted a Jewish burial than be treated like a lump of dead garbage!

Actually, Shaul's death was an exceptional case: as is indicated in the verse which prohibits suicide, which begins with the word "ACH es nafshoseichem"--the word 'ach' (only) hints to the fact that there are rare exceptions. Shaul was one of them. As king of Bnei Yisroel, he knew that he would be forced to publicly commit idolatry and therefore was permitted to take his life to prevent that.

Additionally, not all opinions believe he killed himself; some say he tried to, but the actual killing was done by the Naar Ha'amaleki (see shmuel beis perek alef).

27

 Jan 26, 2009 at 06:49 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
Dr. Kevorkian Says:

If it means endless torture then halacha permits it .

if all the great rabbis who are saying you can commit suicide please say their source

28

 Jan 26, 2009 at 08:00 PM Common Sense Says:

The grim order makes sense in light of the inhumane nature of Hamas. The Jewish people believe that this olam is not the be all and end all of our existence. Is it not the lesser of two evils that these brave soldiers take their lives rather than endure hell on earth at the hands of Hamas animals? I served in the US military for 30 years, including Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Jews in uniform understood what their fate would be if captured by the enemy. Most would prefer to avoid capture "at all costs." I don't know a whole lot about the halacha, but those who say taking ones life under these circumstances is suicide (and is thus forbidden) have probably never experienced what a Jewish soldier feels going to war against these monsters. BTW-I would never call such a death "suicide." It is Kiddish Hashem. May Hashem watch over our brave chayalim and our brave American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

29

 Jan 26, 2009 at 09:14 PM Anonymous Says:

There are actually tshuvos that deal with this very shailo, with regards to people departed r"l during the holocaust. I don't recall the profs, but it wasn't simple.

30

 Jan 26, 2009 at 09:22 PM Hitman Neil Says:

Reply to #25  
Anonymous Says:

killing youreself is not a option for jews it doesnt matter what they would rather halacha first

find me where it says we should be tourtured to death tourtured day in and day out, our families not knowing where our bodies are if were alive or if we are dead your wife not knowing whether she can marry again because she doesnt know if her husband is alive or most probably dead but we have no body to burry what about your kid not having a grave to go see his father do you want that on your consious. please dont tell me halacha says because i dont buy that what ever happened to dying for a kiddush hashem or wait u rather get tortured for kiddush hashem yeah that makes sense. If it was your kid you would be singing a different tune. and im sure they spoke this over with the IDF rabbis which you probably dont hold by but thats fine who agreed. so maybe you have a different halacha then they do but its alot easier for you to make decisons here in the states then over there on the battle field in middle of war!

31

 Jan 26, 2009 at 10:40 PM Feel it Says:

Reply to #3  
Eli Says:

This is against Halacha, and is suicide by all means. this should be condemned and protested....

Eli, maybe you should volunteer in Israel and see what it's like to be captured - then you'll keep your mouth shut.

32

 Jan 26, 2009 at 10:39 PM kugel Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Sorry #3, you are woefully mistaken. Look in Shmuel about how Shaul committed suicide rather than face the pain and dgredation which would have be brought upon him by being captured. Sorry to say, knowing how unlikely it is to return a live captive, better to be granted a Jewish burial than be treated like a lump of dead garbage!

Blowing yourself up is not exactly a jewish burial

33

 Jan 26, 2009 at 11:52 PM ezras nashim Says:

I also agree w/ #1. This is beyond tragic. I actually shudder when I allow myself to think what these giborei chayil are facing when they report for military duty. No one on the planet is more courageous than the Israeli soldier! And the parents who send him! I thank them all; honor them.

Let's all acknowledge that there is certainly an exalted place in shamayim for all of them.

34

 Jan 27, 2009 at 03:07 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
Anonymous Says:

I have a better eitza. why doesn't the israeli government implement its own policy on the terrorists it captures. why r we taking prisoners in the first place to have anything to offer. and if its to get info. get it and then kill em. if we have nothing to trade back then they have no incentive to capture.
what a bizzare world. what's next sending our soliders in with bombs strapped to them. this is what happens when we worry more about world opinion and getting re elected then a yiddeshe neshoma. rachmona nitzlon.. even ben gurion would be turning over in his grave. hitler and arafat are laughing in hell.

you are 100% correct up to the point about the rishoyim laughing in hell..........last I heard laughing in hell just does not happen..

35

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