Prime Minister Netanyahu publicly criticized the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Yair Golan on Sunday as he told the weekly cabinet meeting that although Golan is “a fine officer with a great deal of merit” his remarks at the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday which compared Israel with pre-war Germany is “totally wrong.”
Golan at the central state ceremony in Tel Yitzhak said “if there is something that scares me about the memory of the Holocaust… it is the identification of horrifying processes that occurred in Europe in general and Germany in particular – 70, 80 and 90 years ago – and finding evidence of them here among us, today, in 2016.”
Although the deputy IDF chief of staff withdrew his statements, he aroused harsh criticism, with some calling for his resignation. However, Defense Minister Moshe Yaloon defended him arguing that comments against Golan are part of a “campaign to harm the IDF and its officers politically.” He argued that “the responsibilities of an army officer, especially a senior commander, are not limited to leading soldiers out to war, but also include charting out a path and ethical standards with the help of [his] moral compass.”
Netanyahu, who has been reportedly angered by Moshe Yaloon defending Golan, told the cabinet meeting that comparing Israel to Nazi Germany of 80 years ago is “outrageous” and “totally baseless.” He said the “erroneous” and “unacceptable” comments “should never have been said at any time” especially during Holocaust Remembrance events because “they harm the Israeli society and cheapen the Holocaust.”
Golan’s apology in a statement presented by IDF’s spokesperson unit said the remarks are “an absurd and baseless comparison” without any intention of “drawing any sort of parallel or criticize the national leadership.”
Analysts believe that Golan’s comparison of Israel to pre-war Nazi was probably due to the Jewish State’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territories which are considered as an open-air prison prisons with apartheid-liked policies imposed on the citizens.