Thursday, July 03, 2008

Moshe Plesser and the Jerusalem terror attack--Updated

In the recent terror attack with a front-loader in Israel, a young off-duty IDF soldier named Moshe Plesser shot the terrorist three times in the head, putting an end to his rampage. It appears that the terrorist may have previously been wounded by a police shot from the ground. Plesser says himself in the interview that at first, when he got onto the cab of the front loader, the terrorist appeared to have "fainted." But then he revived, shouting, "Allahu Akbar," and began driving forward again. At that point Moshe got a gun from another bystander, local security guard Oron Ben-Shimon, and managed to shoot the murderer repeatedly without harming the policeman who was also in the cab. Moshe gave a statement to the media of the "just doing my job" variety, and Ben-Shimon confirms his story here. Moshe thanks God ("G-d") for helping him. Coincidentally, Moshe is the brother-in-law of David Shapira, also in the IDF, who ran into a yeshiva earlier this year and killed a terrorist there, stopping his murderous rampage.

If you go to the very bottom of the entry here, you will find the LiveLeak video of the incident, which is the best one I've seen and gives a clear picture of Moshe shooting the terrorist in the cab. It is after Moshe shoots him several times that a SWAT officer comes up behind him. Reports indicate that the SWAT officer also shot him after Moshe did, but there is no particular reason to think that he was still alive by that time.

This information is all over the Internet, but one reason I am posting it here is because there has been a bizarre Israeli court gag-order banning the publication of Moshe's name. (The Israeli court appears never to have heard of the Internet!) His face has now been blurred out in various pictures of him from the videos (but is clear in the LiveLeak video). And a Jerusalem Post article that previously named him and published part of his statement has now had to redact its article to remove his name. See a quote from the unredacted JPost story here, along with a good still shot from the video. The redacted story is here.

Some have speculated that the ban on Plesser's name and picture may be a result of security concerns, since Plesser is in an elite IDF unit. But my own take is that a real security person would realize the pointlessness of such a ban from a security perspective, given the wide availability of the information and of Plesser's picture. A petty bureaucrat who begrudges the man credit in his own country, however, might have a slightly different perspective. This impression is borne out by the publication of an Orwellian foreign ministry article on the subject that leaves out any mention of Plesser at all, even under an initial, and states that "police shot and killed" the terrorist.

An irony in all of this is that Plesser was beaten senseless by Israeli police when he was photographing protests against the expulsion of Jews from their Gaza homes in '05. So far from holding a grudge against his country for this police brutality, he argued the IDF into letting him in and, yesterday, saved more of his countrymen from an Arab murderer. The Arab murderer, on the other hand, has apparently never been beaten senseless by Israeli police, but international media are falling over themselves, disgustingly, making excuses for him.

Finally, I wish to note that the point I made in this comment, and in the surrounding thread generally, about how it is healthy to have heroes who defend the innocent by fighting, applies in spades to Moshe Plesser, whom I mention in the comment.

Update: Haaretz reports that it was Plesser himself who put the request in for a gag order. His brother-in-law, David Shapira, had advised him to stay away from reporters, and apparently this was one part of his attempt to stay out of the limelight. Assuming this report is true, it still seems rather pointless, given the fact that his name was already widely known. Information can't be constrained in that way in the information age, especially given the heroic nature of the act.

1 comment:

nora said...

Love your blog and the way you write. Thank you for being so thorough. So glad I have found you.