A soldier is on the battlefield, face-to-face with the enemy — but he’s run out of ammunition. How’s he going to engage in what could be the final fight for his life?
If he’s an Israeli soldier he’ll most likely employ the no-holds-barred Krav Maga, one of the world’s deadliest hand-to-hand combat styles. This technique derived from street-fighting skills developed by Imi Lichtenfeld, who made use of his training as a boxer and wrestler, as a means of defending Bratislava’s Jewish quarter against attacks by fascist groups in the 1930s.
This is what Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner, deputy commander of the IDF’s Jordan Valley brigade, resorted to when faced with the “threat” posed by a bunch of kids on bicycles on Saturday afternoon.
Eisner might have appeared to have lost control but his was what might be called measured brutality — restrained enough not to kill or to fracture a peaceful protester’s skull.
The following video shows Israelis training in the technique the lieutenant colonel employed.
Amir Mizroch is the editor of the English Newsletter Edition of Israel Hayom, Israel’s most widely-read Hebrew daily newspaper. He says the blow that Eisner delivered to Andreas Ias, an ISM activist participating in the Jordan Valley cycle tour, is a Krav Maga blow that IDF recruits are taught in their first week of basic training.
Eisner’s blow is just one of a sequence of Krav Maga blows that recruits learn. The blow that Eisner delivered, textbook style, could have been followed by at least 4 others in the sequence, which are designed to completely demobilize an enemy, perhaps even kill him. The fact that Eisner lost his cool and ‘reverted to type’ and his training, is an indication that the soldier was not mentally prepared for his mission against the ISM. He shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Eisner is a man the IDF wants in the field to face his opposite numbers in the Syrian army, the Iranian army, or Hezbollah. He is a soldier, a killer if he needs to be. The IDF does not want Eisner in a lose-lose situation where the battle is against peaceful protestors armed with cameras.
Until the army learns this lesson, no amount of sensitivity training, media awareness training, or damage control, is going to fix the problem.
The issue that Mizroch fails to address is the nature of military occupation.
The only reason policing works in a free society is through the support and consent of the wider population. Military occupation like martial law is rule without consent — it is imposed against the will of the people.
Eisner didn’t just lose his cool — he illustrated the very nature of Israel’s rule over the Palestinians: rule by force in which violence is not exceptional; it is the method of government.