According to a statement put out by the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu's said he understands the distress of the family, but that they should think that the IDF will conduct "the most objective and fair investigation of your son." The call, according to the PMO, came at the request of the soldier's family.
"I heard your words and as the father of a soldier, I understand your distress," said Netanyahu, whose son Avner is currently in the IDF.
"In recent months our soldiers have bravely and resolutely stood up in the face of terrorist attacks and murderers who set out to kill them. The soldiers are forced to make decisions in the field, in real time, under stress and conditions of uncertainty," he said. "This is not a simple reality and I'm sure that the investigation is taking the entirety of these circumstances into account. I am convinced that the investigation will be professional and fair towards your son."
Netanyahu urged the father to trust the IDF, the chief of staff and the investigation. "The people of Israel must remain united around the army because we have just one army and we have many great challenges ahead of us," he added.
Regarding new evidence which the IDF prosecution presented to back up the expected manslaughter charge, Rigler on Thursday officially confirmed leaked accounts that the shooter, when asked immediately after by his commander about why he shot the Palestinian, had responded "the terrorist needed to die."
"The Israeli people must remain united around its army because we have only one army and many great challenges ahead," the prime minister added.
"I wanted to tell you heart to heart that all that you have to say, say so within the framework of the examination – it is real, professional and fair. I ask you to understand this, not to think for a moment that your son will not get the fairest and most objective examination. I ask that you relay this to the whole family."
Earlier, an IDF a military tribunal ruled the soldier would face manslaughter charges.
The story is playing out on three levels. There is an operational investigation, or field inquiry, whose negative conclusions for both the soldier and his direct commanders are clear. On the legal level, the defense and the prosecution are facing off in military court, over the Military Police investigation. And on the political level, there are rallies and expressions of support for the soldier from Knesset members and cabinet members, alongside assessments of the affect of public opinion polls on the popularity of figures in Likud and Habayit Hayehudi.
Netanyahu's first response to the incident in Hebron was to agree, if limply, with the position of the IDF Spokesman's Office, the chief of staff and the defense minister, according to which the soldier deviated sharply from the army's avowed (if not always applied) values. But as the right's attack on the IDF mounted, Netanyahu retreated and began to appease his voters. The method chosen was a phone call to the father of the soldier, a soldier who faces manslaughter charges.
As is his wont, Netanyahu hid behind his personal status — "as the father of a soldier" — to tell the father of the homicide suspect that he "understand[s your] distress." Netanyahu is not a private citizen acting as a parent, and the mention of his son Avner, who serves in an administrative position in the home-front base of a combat unit, is gratuitous, unfortunate and will focus the spotlight that the Netanyahu family generally avoids.
Netanyahu's words, ostensibly supporting the military and its "examination" — an odd name for a criminal investigation — are lip service. The phone conversation's content is less important than its having happened, which is a signal to the military prosecutors and judges, to the chief of staff and the defense minister. It is obscene political interference in a judicial process. In a panicked effort to avoid losing votes, Netanyahu is tripping up the chief of staff and using force to affect the charge sheet and the court's verdict. The prime minister, who regularly takes umbrage at being judged by the public and the media, has himself become a judge on behalf of the street.
Israel's citizens and soldiers have a right to expect Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon to stand up publicly for the military legal process and against Netanyahu's conduct. From the prime minister himself, nothing can be expected as long as political survival is his chief concern.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.712320