For the past two weeks, the Israeli public has been consumed by a debate over whether an Israeli soldier’s shooting of a wounded Palestinian terrorist in the aftermath of a stabbing attack was justified. The soldier now faces criminal charges. Evaluating the episode, and its fallout, Asa Kasher—who wrote the IDF’s code of ethics—writes:
The first thing to note is that the incident was immediately reported to the relevant IDF commanders, who at once conducted their routine debriefings. The professional military investigation was repeated several times along the chain of command, from the platoon and battalion level, through the brigade and division level, to the chief of staff. They all reached the conclusion that what the soldier had done was utterly wrong, in stark violation of commands, rules of engagement, and the values specified in the Spirit of the IDF, the code of ethics that requires respect for human dignity (and especially human life) and restraint of force (or “purity of arms,” as it’s called in Hebrew). . . .
The tumult [surrounding the shooting] may give the impression that something has gone astray in the ethical fabric of Israeli society and even within the IDF. That impression is false. No one incident, grave as it may be, indicates a widespread weakness. The IDF and many other parts of Israeli society are morally strong and resilient; they will overcome terrorist activities, on the one hand, and marginal failures to maintain high ethical standards, on the other.