“Hero Or Murderer?” (Editorial, April 8) discussed the issue of the soldier who shot a terrorist in the head after the terrorist was already lying prone on the ground. The Editorial gives the impression that “decades of terror attacks… have taken their toll on a society”… (and) …on society’s capacity for compassion. Unfortunately, we in America look at this case from our eyes, not from that of a soldier who is tasked to maintain security.
I returned recently from a trip to Israel where my granddaughter and I took a security course in which soldiers explained how they are taught to respond to an attack. It was explained to us that if a soldier is in a predicament where he has subdued one suspect but there may be other terrorists present and the situation is still not secure, it may be necessary to eliminate the subdued suspect so the soldier can secure the situation and prevent further civilian casualties.
I am not suggesting that we condone unnecessary violence, and neither is the IDF. However, an attack such as this one needs to be examined in the context of Israeli needs and not American sensibilities. It may have been a mistake by this soldier, but in the context of Israeli society, it is far better that a terrorist is killed than an innocent civilian. This does not at all reflect on Israel’s capacity for compassion; rather it is about the need to deal with the everyday reality of terror. Israel is a very compassionate society, but its focus is more toward the innocent victims of terror than to the terrorists, and that is morally correct.