11 July 2014
On the eve of a threatened ground invasion of Gaza, the commander of the Israeli army’s Givati Brigade has told his soldiers that they are engaged in a war to “wipe out” an “enemy who defames” God.
In a Hebrew language letter to his troops published by Israel’s NRG news website and laden with bibilical references, Colonel Ofer Winter writes, “History has chosen us to be the sharp edge of the bayonet of fighting the terrorist enemy ‘from Gaza’ which curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel’s battles.”
“We will act together forcefully and with resolve, with initiative and with deceptive tricks and aim for contact with the enemy. We will do everything to live up to the mission and wipe out the enemy and remove the threat from the Nation of Israel,” Winter’s letter adds.
In Hebrew, the phrase used for “Nation of Israel” refers specifically and only to Jews.
“In the name of the IDF [Israeli army] fighters and in particular, the fighters and commanders from the Brigade, make the phrase ‘For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you’ come true, and we shall answer: Amen,” he concludes.
Winter’s letter is an “astonishing document,” Israeli playwright and journalist Kobi Niv commented on Facebook.
Niv criticizes the “clumsy language which ridiculously combines recitations from the military and the religion but also the fact that on our part (not on their part; on our part) the wars against the Palestinians have turned from a national dispute to a holy war.”
Israel expert Dena Shunra, who translated Winter’s letter for The Electronic Intifada, notes that its appearance reflects the increasing participation of observant Orthodox Jews in the Israeli military. Shunra adds:
This demographic, often associated with the settlement movement, has displaced the traditional Kibbutz-member (militantly secular, socialist/communist leanings) in the Israeli army. Switching from nationalist rhetoric to the language of holy war is part of that transition. Another part is insisting that holy figures appear in battle to comfort/save the Jewish soldiers (and seeing them as Jewish, rather than Israeli). Reports of visitations by “Mama Rochelle” – the Matriarch Rachel, wife of Patriarch Jacob, traditionally buried in Bethlehem – have surfaced in the last few rounds of fighting (from 2002 onward). This changes the nature both of the wars and of the forces engaging in them, pushing towards a clash of civilizations.
Translation of letter
Full translation of Ofer Winter’s letter:
Commander’s Combat Material for “Solid Rock” Operation [a.k.a. “Protective Edge]
Dear commanders and fighters,
It has been our great privilege to command and serve in the Givati Brigade at this time. History has chosen us to be the sharp edge of the bayonet of fighting the terrorist enemy “from Gaza” which curses, defames and abuses the God of Israel’s battles. We have practiced and prepared for this time and we take upon ourselves the mission with full humility, and being willing to endanger ourselves and give our lives to protect our families, our nation and our homeland.
We will act together forcefully and with resolve, with initiative, and with deceptive tricks and aim for contact with the enemy. We will do everything to live up to the mission and wipe out the enemy and remove the threat from the Nation of Israel. Nobody here returns without performing.
We will act and do everything to return our lads safely. Using all means at our disposal and with all required force.
I trust you, each and every one of you, to act in that spirit, in the spirit of Israeli fighters who are the pioneers leading the camp. The spirit of Givati. I turn my eyes to the sky and call with you “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” God, the Lord of Israel, make our path successful, as we are about to fight for Your People, Israel, against an enemy who defames your name. In the name of the IDF fighters and in particular, the fighters and commanders from the Brigade, make the phrase “For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” come true, and we shall answer: Amen.
Together and only together we will win.
Ofer Winter, Colonel
Commander of the Givati Brigade
- Givati brigade
- Israeli army
- violence by Israeli soldiers
- Ofer Winter
Israel's Final Solution
Permalink Najib Joe Hakim replied on
Looks like Israel is embarking on its "Final Solution" to the "Palestinian problem." The nazis are on the march again.
Permalink Pidde replied on
Resist. Give up! Give in!
All parts! Game over!
New start. Hear The children!
A god of barbarism and hate
Permalink John Lappart replied on
His so-called god is the antichrist, the god of blood thirsty murders and thieves.
Interesting George Bush also
Permalink Grahame Perkins replied on
Interesting George Bush also used God in his defence for going to war in Iraqi. How can this god who is supposed to be a loving being support so many idiots who use his name to kill his creations ( he is after all supposed to have created us in his likeness )
I'm sure his name will be
Permalink Jack replied on
I'm sure his name will be added to long list of israeli war criminals.
Mr. Commander you can look up at the sky but you will be brougt to justice by the people. Mark my words.
Holy War against Palestinians.
Permalink Peter Reilly replied on
Declaring a holy war against a people is declaring genocide, especially as it against a people without an army, navy or airforce!
Permalink che handala replied on
this is odium incarnate..let us put this on mainstream news
Isreal is planning to commit
Permalink Mediha replied on
Isreal is planning to commit ,a genocide against the Palestinian people and trying desperately to find an excuse to make it acceptable to the world.
So far there are none. They are the worst nation in existence on the planet at the moment .
I hope their population will wake up and see beyond the brain washing they have been subjected to before it is too late!
wake up muslim countries
Permalink ijaz rasool replied on
Why has the international community remained silent despite the fact that the Palestinian death toll from Israel’s attacks on the#GazaStrip rises to 107 many of them women and children?#FreePalestine#
Permalink saheed replied on
Isreal is trying to commit a genocide against the few numbers in #gaza, why has the international community kept quite. They are the worst nation existence on the planet earth.
Colonel Ofer Winter
Permalink George replied on
The Colonel is another ethnic cleansing racist ; hopefully he and his disgusting ,
cowardly Grivati Brigade will fail in their filthy mission. They think they are tough because they have weapons from America, but in reality they are cowards since Hamas has has no weapons. God will teach them a lesson & let's hope Netanyahu & his filthy Knesset fail miserably
Israel has a right to defend itself!
Permalink Michael Barrach replied on
Approximately 700 rockets have been fired into Israel in the past few days.
Tell me what you would do if that was happening here in the USA? And multiply that 700 rockets to modify for the size difference because Israel is much smaller than the US.
Would you be OK with running for shelters every hour and fearing for you life? Would that be acceptable? Of course not.
I do not agree 100% with what Israel has done, but they have a right to defend against these hundreds of attacks. We would insist on the same if it was us.
Israel and right to defend itself?
Permalink Jack replied on
How about rights of Palestinians?
There are only possibilities. First: you are paid by israelis to spill their propaganda, second: you are ignorant beyond any imagination.
How dare you even compare this illegal, immoral, brutal military occupation to stateless and defenseless people. How many isrealis have died from this "700" home made rockets? Zero. And how many Palestinian civilians: women, children, ederly? How many died in 2008/2009 isreali military escapade? How many buildings Israel have destroyed? Do you think people will not remember?
What Israel is committing in Palestine is a war crime.
And all israeli war criminals will face justice just like the nazis in Nuremberg trial.
We the people will insist on that.
The commander sounds every
Permalink Luke Weylan replied on
The commander sounds every bit as extreme as the self styled Caliph Baghdadi of ISIS .