Bereaved war mother Hagit Rein, who lost her son, Major Benaya Rein Hy”d, in the Second Lebanon War, asked the press Wednesday to cover that war in a more positive manner, and implored politicians and officers to stop blaming each other for what went wrong.
She spoke at the central memorial ceremony of the 401st Armored Corps Regiment marking the tenth anniversary of the Second Lebanon War. In attendance were IDF commanders past and present, bereaved families of the war’s fallen casualties, as well as men wounded in the war and their families.
Rein represented the bereaved families, and repeated the main points of her speech in a conversation with Arutz Sheva.
“For ten years now, I have been going to schools and talking to students and soldiers,” she said. “But in the press, when they talk about the Second Lebanon War, immediately words like ‘failure’, ‘plasma’ and ‘corruption’ come up.”
The term “plasma” refers to criticism leveled at the officers who ran the war, according to which they were largely immersed in the plasma screens of their computers instead of being in touch with what was happening on the ground.
“Our officers and soldiers fought like lions,” she stated. “Benaya and his team merited to save tens of soldiers. Life in the Galilee continues today thanks to Benaya and all of the other soldiers who fought, and I am proud about this and we all should be proud.”
The military has learned its lessons from the war, she added. “Now there is more training, the stockpiles are full, the orders are clearer. In the latest wars, the commanders sat in field HQs and not in front of plasma screens. So instead of wallowing in the past, ask what good can be done for our country.”
Last week, she said, she attended a conference dedicated to her son’s memory at Bar Ilan University. “Regrettably, there were all sorts of people there who find it hard to say ‘we erred,’ even to this day. It was a very difficult day.”
She mentioned the names of Gal Hirsch, who was the Galilee Formation Commander; of Deputy Chief of Staff Moshe Kaplinsky, of Defense Minister Amir Peretz, and of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. “Everyone blamed everyone else instead of saying ‘we made mistakes, we learned from them, and let’s move on.’”
“Mistakes are made in all wars,” she summed up. “We need to inject a spirit of heroism and unity, and to learn from people like [Col.] Ofer Winter who uttered words of strength before going out to battle.”