Gantz wanted to talk with demonstrators

March 9, 2016 by Toni Susskind
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Over 650 guests have attended the United Israel Appeal’s campaign launch gala dinner in Melbourne.

A small group of demonstrators protested outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel at which the function was being held.

M.C.’d by the president of UIA Victoria Shlomo Werdiger, the event emphasised the connection between Australian Jewry and Israel, with one of the key-note speakers, Major General Daron Almog, saying “tonight is about strengthening the commitment between Australia and Israel.”

Benny Gantz

Yoav Livmor and Benny Gantz   Photo: Peter Haskin

Briefly discussing his history in the military and his role in Operation Entebbe in 1976, Almog was the first Israeli soldier on the ground when the Israeli Defense Force rescued 105 Israeli hostages from Uganda. The anecdote was a reminder that the Jewish people, “have one Jewish state in the world” and how Israel has a “commitment to save any Jew in the world when they are in danger.”

The speech segued into the ideal that Israel needs to “defend not only the wealthy, but also the weakest. A social chain is always judged by the weakest link.” Sharing the story of his Autistic and physically disabled son who died last year aged 23, Almog explained that he, his family and other community members, have created a “Village to help people who are intellectually and physically disabled as well as in need of rehabilitation” and is a place where “Muslim, Jew and Christian work together” in harmony. After all, “our goal is not killing or war, we desire peace.”

Yoav Limor, a senior Israeli defense correspondent, then interviewed Benny Gantz, the IDF former Chief of General Staff of the IDF.

Gantz, began with an explanation of the “moral dilemma” that constantly presents itself in Israel, as we “need to fight, but we still need to keep our morals.” He explained that life in Israel can be tough, as “sometimes civilians do get killed, but we, the IDF, do not try to do it. We do not use civilians as targets.”

Shlomo Werdiger and Benny Gantz Photo: Peter Haskin

Shlomo Werdiger and Benny Gantz Photo: Peter Haskin

Addressing a series of topics, as well as the half-dozen protesters who waited outside the Hyatt with placards, “Free Palestine,” “Boycott Israel” and “Gance is a war criminal,” he wished that the demonstrators were in the auditorium so he could talk to them directly and explain the facts.

A believer of putting the  “facts out there,” to minimize the misinformation, he cited examples such as how 25 international Generals came to Israel and found out that they could not “compete with the standards that had been set,” or the fact that “in 80% of stabbings, it is civilians, not soldiers who are being attacked.”

Protestors outside the hotel

Protestors outside the hotel

Moving to the subject of ISIS, he acknowledges that  “Isis does need to be eradicated” and it will probably take a “generation to fulfill, ” but he is optimistic about the task, as Gantz believes that “this regime of terror is not self-sustaining.”

Regarding Palestine, Gantz mentioned that the 300,000 casualties in Syria, the 1 in 4 refuges and the Muslims being beheaded in Arabic countries due to radicalized extremists, has nothing to do with Israel, yet people are “happy to blame Israel.” Instead he believes that the issue is not about “the Palestinians, it is about peace,” and the need for a two state solution.

Touching upon the tunnels, rockets from Gaza as well as the stabbings that are becoming more common in Israel, he outlined how the reaction time is being sped up to counter the issue and reiterated the ideal that Israel cannot “give up their way of life.” Over the past 5 years, Israel has “built an infrastructure and secured the borders” and although “we will need to continue with being defensive,” we also need to “keep to our way of life and our values,” as failure to do so means that the terrorists have won.

On an introspective note, Gantz finished with, “ I wish the demonstrators outside could come inside and see what we are really are like.”


6 Responses to “Gantz wanted to talk with demonstrators”
  1. Leon Poddebsky says:

    It would have been fitting for a Jewish site to refer to The Land of Israel rather than “Palestine,” which this correspondent used.
    Why are some Jews willing or careless prisoners of non-Jewish terminology, which is constantly used by the enemy to obscure, obfuscate and deceive?

  2. Henry Herzog says:

    These protests have nothing to do with Palestinian rights and all to do with delegitimizing, with the ultimate aim of destroying, the Jewish state.

    • Samuel Terry says:

      It strikes me as rather odd, that reading the headlines and interesting articles of three-four Israeli newspapers daily, I have seen so few photographs of damage caused by these rockets “from Gaza”, that everybody talks about. One was of a fellow standing in a 2m crater is a vegetable patch and another was a 30cm hole in cottage wall. Could a diligent reader point me in the direction to see more?

  3. Ron Jontof-Hutter says:

    The demonstrators know what you are like, and they are not interested in facts. What is it that Gantz can do better than Michael Oren , a professor of history, author and Israeli ambassador could not achieve on American university campuses? Or Col Kemp in Sydney? Some creative solutions rather than more platitudes, are what is needed.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      Perhaps one strategy which might overcome such enemies is for Israel to remain undeflected from its course, continuing to do what it has been doing:
      . maintaining resilience, tenacity, determination, and ensuring national cohesion.
      . achieving excellence in a wide spectrum of endeavour.
      . extending assistance to and co-operating with the underprivileged regions and peoples of the world.
      . preserving its values even under fire.
      . consolidating manifold ties with those regions of the planet which historically and culturally are untainted by baseless hatred of the Jewish People.

      That combination constitutes the sort of strength before which bullies resile.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      A recent example of one of the components of the strategy which I suggested occurred in nearby Papua-New Guinea, where an Israeli water desalination unit is operating.
      The president of P-NG’s neighbour, Indonesia, just the other day demanded a boycott of Israel and the coercing of Israel to endanger its citizens’ security.
      What has his country done for P-NG apart from illegally and immorally occupying the western part?

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