Sunday, 8 May 2016


Israeli general touches raw nerve with Holocaust comments

Military official warns against repeating horrors of the past

JERUSALEM — In a reflection of the deep divisions plaguing Israel, a top general set off a controversy Thursday after appearing to liken the atmosphere in Israel to that of Nazi-era Germany during a speech marking the country’s Holocaust memorial day.
The comments, coming on one of the country’s most sensitive and sacred days, enraged Israeli nationalists. The episode also underscored an increasingly evident rift between hard-liners in the government and the country’s security chiefs, who tend to be more pragmatic than many politicians on its troubled relations with the Palestinians.

In a speech Wednesday night, Major General Yair Golan, the military’s deputy chief of staff, said the Holocaust should prompt Israelis to ‘‘think deeply’’ about their society.
‘‘If there is anything that frightens me in the remembrance of the Holocaust, it is discerning nauseating processes that took place in Europe in general, and in Germany specifically, back then, 70, 80, and 90 years ago, and seeing evidence of them here among us in the year 2016,’’ he said.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the nationalist Jewish Home party, called on Golan to correct his comments or be seen as comparing Israeli soldiers to Nazis.
The Haaretz daily said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, late Wednesday to express displeasure.
But Isaac Herzog, leader of the center-left opposition, called Golan brave.

‘‘This is what ethics and responsibility sound like,’’ he said.

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