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"End the occupation !" PAJU Vigil # 860, August 4, 2017:

Publication date : 2017-08-04

Outgoing IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan defended a controversial speech he gave last year in which he compared trends in Israeli society to those of pre-World War II Germany, in a Hebrew-language interview with the military’s website. The major general’s speech, delivered at the national Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in 2016, sparked a flurry of denouncements, as well as statements of support, from Israeli politicians and public figures.


Outgoing Israeli General Defends His Controversial Holocaust Remembrance Day Speech

Outgoing IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Yair Golan defended a controversial speech he gave last year in which he compared trends in Israeli society to those of pre-World War II Germany, in a Hebrew-language interview with the military’s website.

The major general’s speech, delivered at the national Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony in 2016, sparked a flurry of denouncements, as well as statements of support, from Israeli politicians and public figures.

A difference of opinion between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon over the remarks was seen by many as a contributing factor to the latter’s eventual ousting from his position a few weeks later.

Golan, speaking in a new video interview produced by the military, said he “didn’t realize it would go to the very political place that it went,” but added that he “doesn’t take back the remarks.”

At an official ceremony in front of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the major general had said that “if there is something that frightens me in the memory of the Holocaust, it is identifying horrifying processes that occurred in Europe…70, 80 and 90 years ago and finding evidence of their existence here in our midst, today, in 2016.”

While his critique of Israeli society was likely aimed at support for Jewish extremist actions, Golan specifically touched upon the issue of moral flaws within the army, saying the strength of the IDF was its ability to thoroughly investigate and punish wrongdoers “and take responsibility for the good and the bad” without justifying their actions or attempting to cover them up. The speech came amid handwringing over the case of Elor Azaria, who shot and killed a wounded and disarmed Palestinian assailant in Hebron months earlier. Golan, who was succeeded by Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi as deputy chief of staff in May, defended his comments in the interview Monday, saying Israel — “as a light unto the nations” — has a responsibility to maintain “moral superiority.”

He said the test of that morality is not in comparison to other countries, but how Israel stands up to its own stated values. “Morality is you compared to you. You compared to your standards, not to those around you. Around Israel, there are murderous people who don’t hesitate to kill one another in fear-inducing quantities. That should give us no repose,” he said.

Adapted from: http://www.timesofisrael.com/outgoing-general-defends-controversial-holocaust-remembrance-day-speech/

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