Moti and Smadar Mat, parents of fallen soldier Sgt. Lee Mat who was killed in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, have taken on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Sunday over conflicts over what can be included on their son's tombstone.
Sgt. First Class Mat, 19, was killed with two fellow Paratroopers when he entered a booby-trapped house in Khan Younis on July 23, during the course of the IDF's ground offensive in Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.
He is survived by his parents, Moti and Smadar, and three brothers: 26 year-old Tal, 24 year-old Gal; and 22 year-old Si.
Since then, Moti and Smadar have campaigned for Lee's sibling's names to be included on the tombstone, but their request was denied. The denial has sparked a furious campaign from the bereaved family against Netanyahu and Ya'alon, and they had placed another sign on his tombstone bearing the words "Lee was killed on Netanyahu's and Ya'alon's watch"; it was taken down hours after it was placed.
Moti raged about the incident to Channel 10 Sunday.
"Our son came home with principles and values, with meaning – not to play the game of the Defense Ministry," Moti said. "We're saying to the system: as long as there is not approval and there will not be legislation passed in the Knesset to change it – there will not be a tombstone for our son."
"All these people are desecrating the dead. They come here and carry out actions which only police states do, [due to] the inflated egos of people like Netanyahu and Ya'alon."
"We want the prime minister and defense minister would give the Israeli parliament to make a decision on behalf of their conscience, without political involvement," he added. "Our children go to the army and fight, and unfortunately are also killed – they do not go out in the name of one [political] camp or another, they're going on behalf of the State Israel. They, Netanyahu and Ya'alon, should be embarrassed; they are like thieves in the night. What disgusting behavior."
The parents also accused both politicians of running a smear campaign against the family.
"We see all this hate the system is formed against the family," he said. "They direct all their energies against us, as if we were an enemy of the people. We are Zionists, Jews and Israelis no less than you are, but we are also human beings. You do not come here overnight and remove the epitaph on a tombstone."