Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) on Monday sharply criticized the decision to open an investigation into Binyamin Regional Commander Col. Yisrael Shomer, over an incident in which he shot dead an Arab terrorist who attacked his vehicle.
The IDF, along with other Israeli officials, had initially backed Shomer over his actions, noting the danger to his life presented by a group of Arab youths hurling large rocks at his car, as illustrated in the serious damage inflicted to the vehicle.
But following a video released by the European-funded NGO B'Tselem, the military said it had in fact opened an investigation into Shomer, as it does automatically in any incident in which someone is killed.
The video – taken from footage from CCTV at a nearby gas station – shows only part of the incident, and not the moment the shots were fired. In it, Arab youths including Mohammed al-Kasbeh can be seen waiting in ambush for Shomer's car, and then pouncing, hurling a number of projectiles at the vehicle.
Two IDF soldiers get out and give chase, which the far-left B'Tselem claims is proof Shomer broke IDF protocol and shot al-Kasbeh while he was defenseless – despite no evidence of that in the video.
Palestinian medical sources claimed he was shot in the back, but refused to hand his body over for an autopsy, casting doubt on their version of events.
Justice Minister Shaked said there is only one way to look at the incident. "Attempted murder is attempted murder. There are no alternative, nice words to describe this incident."
Paraphrasing the Talmudic exhortation "He who comes to kill you, rise up an kill him (first)," she continued: "In Judaism there is a moral principle which says that it is permitted for a person to defend himself and save his own life at the expense of the life of the person endangering it.
"This is, in practice, 'self-defense,' or a 'preemptive strike."
Shaked remarked sardonically that it was clear that a rock hurled at point-blank range at the windscreen of a car was not a case of someone engaging in "glass sculpturing."
"This is attempted murder for all intents and purposes," she insisted.
Turning to the footage released by B'Tselem, Shaked accused the group of embarking on a campaign of disinformation.
"The video footage released yesterday, and the testimonies cited by the 'B'Tselem' organization, do not suggest the slightest improper action by the Colonel, because they did not show the whole picture," she challenged.
"If there is one thing they have proved it is something we already know – that the 'B'Tselem' organization hounds the soldiers of the IDF with the aim of tying their hands," Shaked fired, noting that the film does not show what occurred after the attacker initially fled.
B'Tselem – along with a number of other foreign-funded, far-left NGOs in Israel – dedicates most of its activities to attacking the IDF and residents of Judea and Samaria, both in the international media and the courts, as well as by staging provocations. Most recently, it was revealed that the group contributed a significant amount of the anti-Israel testimonies provided to the UN's report into last summer's war with Hamas.
During the investigation into his actions, Shomer told investigators that after he gave chase al-Kasbeh turned suddenly to face the soldiers, while holding an unidentified object which looked like an improvised explosive – and that only at that point did soldiers open fire to neutralize the threat.
"On the one hand, I am glad that there is someone to investigate, and that Colonel Shomer stayed alive," by taking out the terrorist, Shaked mused. "On the other hand I am very unhappy that when the life of an IDF soldier is in danger and he defends himself, the detractors immediately pop up to hound him."
Shaked declared that she "backs Colonel Shomer" fully, adding that the fact that such a large rock did not kill or seriously injure any of the soldiers in the car was nothing short of a "miracle."
But she warned: "We must not leave our lives in the hands of miracles alone."