Analysis News

IDF medic reports modifications to procedures

An IDF medic was surprised to hear two new guidelines given by his superiors, which include shooting attackers as they flee. (Several corrections are amended below.)

D., a combat medic in the ground forces, was surprised to hear in training ahead of deployment in the occupied territories last week that at least two orders typically given to soldiers were ostensibly modified by his commander.

Illustrative photo of IDF medics. (photo: IDF CC BY-SA 2.0)

Illustrative photo of IDF medics. (photo: IDF CC BY-SA 2.0)

“During the refresher course the instructor, who works as a medic on the base, told us that the orders of the IDF are not to give mouth-to-mouth respiration to people we do not know. When asked about it he said that it basically means that we do not need to give mouth-to-mouth Palestinians,” says D., who took part in the course at the Lakhish base in southern Israel. D. has since then left for duty in the West Bank.

“It sounds strange but he repeated it twice, so I have no doubt that that was what he meant. I was very surprised by the order not to give mouth-to-mouth to anyone who needs it. Since then I have come to understand that Magen David Adom (Israel’s national emergency ambulance service) came up with the order regarding mouth-to-mouth respiration several years ago. The emphasis on the Palestinians was probably the instructor ‘thinking ahead.’ I assume that he goes these trainings all the time. That’s worrying.”

Magen David Adom (MDA) and its American branch, AFMDA, categorically rejected the accusation. “MDA and AFMDA unequivocally reject the inference that MDA would, in any way, prioritize its lifesaving efforts or standards based on people’s backgrounds, including (but no limited to) politics, religion, ethnicity, or gender. MDA does not play games with people’s lives and its practices are based purely on medical standards,” the organization wrote in a response to D.’s allegation.

“MDA has made extensive efforts to provide medical assistance to Palestinians with severe medical conditions, including sending a neo-natal ambulance several times a week to help bring seriously ill babies and older children to Israeli hospitals for treatment, even at times when rockets were being fired and when going to the Erez Crossing to meet the Palestinian ambulance at the border presented risks to MDA paramedics,” the statement added.


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WATCH: Settlers assault, throw stones at Palestinian farmers

The villagers of Ash-Shuyukh have been trying to reach their lands for 10 years — each time they are attacked by settlers. When they arrived there on Saturday, Israeli activists had cameras ready.

Settlers attacked a small group of Palestinian farmers from the village of Ash-Shuyukh who came to work their land near the settlements of Pnei Kedem and Metzad on Saturday.

As can be seen in video filmed by an Israeli activist with Ta’ayush, a direct-action solidarity group, the settlers threw stones and physically assaulted the farmers while a group of soldiers stood between the two and attempted to stop the attackers. The soldiers, however, refrained from detaining the settlers.

“Farmers have been prevented from accessing the land for nearly 10 years,” says Danny Kornberg, an activist with Ta’ayush who witnessed the attack. “They say that every time the settlers come, they either attack the farmers or call the soldiers who detain the farmers for hours. The landowners were granted permission by the court regarding these specific lands, which proved that the land indeed belongs to them. This is the first time that we accompanied them to the area — I hope it isn’t the last.”

The video, which is edited, shows soldiers coming down to the valley and asking for identification documents from the farmers. Eventually the settlers arrive and waste no time before they begin throwing rocks at the farmers and physically assaulting the activists who are filming.

All the while, the settlers yell racist epithets at the Palestinians (“you nasty Arab, you have no right to be here) and demand that the soldiers remove them from the vicinity of the settlement. The soldiers attempt to separate the two groups, but refuse the activists’ demand to detain the attackers. When soldiers witness such acts of settler violence, they can summon the police and detain the settlers until police arrive. In practice, however, that rarely happens.

Eventually the soldiers get confirmation over their radios that the farmers are allowed to work their own land, and the settlers leave.

According to one of the activists in the video, and as confirmed by Peace Now reports, the Pnei Kedem outpost partially sits atop privately owned Palestinian land.

More coverage of settler violence:
Settler violence comes with the territory
Israeli inaction enables settler violence against Palestinians
Settler violence: Think of...

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WATCH: Police spray putrid water on Palestinian homes, schools

Two new videos catch a police ‘skunk’ truck spraying East Jerusalem neighborhoods with foul-smelling liquid. The smell was so bad that 4,500 students had to stay home from school.

The “skunk” trucks drives slowly through the neighborhood. It is evening, and there is no evidence of clashes in the area. The truck proceeds slowly, sprays putrid-smelling water on a nearby building, continues on and shoots once again. When it’s all over, the truck has tainted schools, homes, streets – entire neighborhoods – with its unbearable stink. Just like that.

Two videos that were filmed this past week by Palestinian residents of Jerusalem and were given to +972 support claims by residents regarding the inappropriate use of the skunk by the police. In August, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a complaint to the police regarding multiple cases of the arbitrary use of the skunk, especially at times when there are no protests or clashes. It seems that the police has not changed its ways.

The common understanding among residents and human rights organizations is that the police are collectively punishing Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents, in light of clashes between youth and police in these neighborhoods. But the punishment neither begins nor ends with skunk water; the police block entrances to these neighborhoods with concrete blocks, detains residents for long hours at checkpoints and hands out petty fines – all at the behest of the Jerusalem municipality.

Police use the 'skunk' water canon to disperse protesters in Kafr Kanna, a day after Israeli police fatally shot an Arab man in the village. (photo: Yotam Ronen/

Police use the ‘skunk’ water canon to disperse protesters in Kafr Kanna, a day after Israeli police fatally shot an Arab man in the village. (photo: Yotam Ronen/

In the A-Tur neighborhood, the police shot skunk water at four large schools, forcing the parents of 4,500 students to leave their children at home due to the unbearable smell. “It was this past Friday, at around 5:30 p.m.,” says Khader Abu Sabitan, a member of the parents’ committee in the neighborhood. “I was on the road and saw them pass with their machine, and saw how they began shooting water at the school. I’m telling you – there was nothing there. It is Friday at 5:30 in the evening, and there was...

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10 years after Arafat: Where did the Palestinian leadership go?

In both Gaza and Ramallah the Palestinian leadership hasn’t gotten involved in the latest wave of violence. They’re not condemning it, they’re not supporting it, and they’re certainly not offering Palestinians any vision. But Israelis shouldn’t take comfort.

One of the hottest topics in the media recently is the question of whether we can call whatever is happening here lately an intifada. Regardless of whether or not there is an intifada, the source and solution still lie in the hands of the Israeli government, which chooses escalation instead of quiet and ending the occupation. But all that aside, it’s still worth asking: is this an intifada?

The answer for the time being is no, in my opinion. An intifada is a widespread popular uprising, like the First Intifada and like the early days of the second (when mass protests were crushed with overwhelming firepower, after which the terrorist attacks began). Nobody called the bomb attacks of the 90s or the rocket fire from Gaza “intifada.” Same goes for what we’re seeing now — vehicular attacks and stabbings that are the unorganized actions of young individuals, and dozens of stone-throwers in Jerusalem who are not part of a Palestinian societal movement.

Ismail Hanniyeh, Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas

Ismail Hanniyeh, Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas

Beyond the lack of — mass — public participation, the main difference between these past few weeks and the two intifadas is that there is not anybody or anything that can be considered leadership. Not local and not national. It’s nearly impossible to look at the the wave of violent incidents and to not wonder where the Palestinian leadership is. Both Mahmoud Abbas and and Ismail Haniyeh put out statements about the Aqsa Mosque. Gazan officials expressed support for the vehicle attack that killed baby Chaya Zissel Braun; officials in Ramallah sent a condolence letter to the family of Muataz Hijazi, Yehuda Glick’s would-be assassin, whose killing by police is considered by many Palestinians to have been an assassination.

But that’s it. Haniyeh is busy stopping whoever is shooting rockets at Israel, and arguing with Egypt about the destruction in Egyptian Rafah and the demolition of the tunnels. Abbas is still continuing his security coordination with Israel (which is a code word for oppressing any protest...

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WATCH: Police kill would-be attacker as he runs away

Police shot and killed 22-year-old Khir Hamdan in the village of Kafr Kanna overnight on Saturday after he attempted to attack them with a knife.

A security camera that captured the shooting show that Hamdan was fleeing from the officers when they shot him, which ostensibly means he posed no threat to the lives of the policemen at that moment.

The video shows Hamda trying to attack a riot police unit (known in Hebrew as “Yassam”) van that arrived in the village with what appears to be a knife. After several seconds, the policemen exit the vehicle and Hamdan backs off and starts running away. While he is fleeing, one of the policemen shoots him. Hamdan died a few hours later.

Hamdan’s family blames the officers for the “cold-blooded murder” of their son, who they claim posed no threat when shot. A demonstration against the killing was set to take place Saturday afternoon. Police told Ynet that Hamdan “tried to stab the policemen during the arrest of a village residents. That is why they shot him. We are continuing to look into the matter.”

The event took place just two days after Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich essentially endorsed the extra-judicial killing of murder suspects, in the wake of last week’s terror attack in Jerusalem. Aharonovich’s statement is an affront to the rule of law, not to mention police procedures, which require police to shoot in order to neutralize a threat, rather than to kill.

One must wonder whether Aharonovich’s statement influenced those policemen who acted Saturday morning in Kafr Kanna, this time within the Green Line.

Update (3:30 p.m.):

Israel Police announces it will open an investigation into Hamdan’s death. In Kafr Kanna, roughly 80 youths clashed with police forces in the run-up to the demonstration. Police were using sponge-tipped bullets and putrid “skunk” water canons to disperse the demonstrators. Inside the town, thousands turned out for a demonstration.

Minister: Demolish homes in response to deadly J’lem attack
WATCH: Footage shows Israeli army’s killing of two Palestinian teens

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Israeli conscientious objector ends hunger strike citing abuse

Prison guards put Udi Segal in isolation and threatened him with trumped up charges, alleges the jailed conscientious objector now serving his fifth term in Israeli military prison.

Udi Segal (right) arrives with supporters to an IDF induction base. The sign says, 'Refuseniks Against the Occupation' (Photo courtesy of 'Refuseniks Against the Occupation'

Udi Segal (right) arrives with supporters to an IDF induction base. The sign says, ‘Refuseniks Against the Occupation’ (Photo courtesy of ‘Refuseniks Against the Occupation’

Israeli conscientious objector Udi Segal stopped his hunger strike over the weekend, citing what he described as abuse by guards in the Israeli army’s “Prison 6.” Segal began his fifth prison term last Thursday when he once again registered his refusal to serve in the Israeli army for reasons of conscience, declaring a hunger strike to protest his continued and repeated imprisonment.

Since the start of his latest prison term Segal has been subject to degrading treatment by guards which led him to end his hunger strike, according to his attorney, Rawan Eghbariah of ‘New Profile.’ According to Eghbariah, Segal was placed in an isolation wing of the prison in a cell with broken windows, was not allowed to have any books — including religious books — with him and was forced to keep his hands on his knees anytime he was sitting.

Additionally, Segal was forced to go into the prison yard at least four times over the weekend, Eghbariah said. During one of those times, she added, he was ordered to carry out physically strenuous activities for 40 minutes at a time, and alternatively to stare at a specific point on the wall for 40 minutes. The prison guards told Segal they would prevent him from meeting with his attorney and, “we can do whatever we want to you and put you on trial because there are no witnesses.” The guards also told Segal that he is harming his family, according to his attorney.

Segal decided to stop his hunger strike on Saturday. He told his attorney, Eghbariah, that he did so because of the abuse he suffered and because “it turned into a power struggle, and I’m not interested in proving my strength or my ‘masculinity,’ in their language — that is the essence of my refusal.”

In a statement published last Thursday, Segal wrote, “I am...

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Rabin memorial makes clear Israel's peace camp stuck in the 90s

Nearly 20 years after Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination, the Israeli peace camp is still talking about annexation and separation.

At the opening of Saturday night’s rally marking 19 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, a video of the slain prime minister’s final speech was aired on giant screens, alongside shots of the protesters from that same night in November 1995. At the end of the segment, the screens showed an aerial view of last night’s actual protest. Were the protest not significantly smaller than the one in 1995, it would have been difficult to tell the two apart.

The opening symbolized the general atmosphere of the rally. The speeches, the crowd, the chants, the messaging – everything looked like it had been frozen in time since that fateful night. It was as if it wasn’t yet clear to the crowd how much damage the Oslo Accords had caused. As if those same people who led these rallies both then and now didn’t go along with the concept that “we have no partner.” As if they didn’t participate in a coalition of death and war or support the disastrous Gaza disengagement. As if we didn’t just participate in a war that ended with 2,300 deaths. As if Jerusalem isn’t burning. None of these issues were even mentioned.

The crowd at Saturday's memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin. (photo: Haggai Matar)

The crowd at Saturday’s memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin. (photo: Haggai Matar)

One after the other, the speakers (Shimon Peres, Haim Yalin, Gilead Sher and Yuval Rabin) got up and recycled the same old slogans: peace is made with enemies, being Jewish means searching for peace, we must separate from the Palestinians so as to preserve the Jewish character of the state, negotiations are the only way to peace, etc. Not one bit of introspection regarding the error of their ways. Not a sign that 20 years have changed their minds even in the slightest, or even raised the need to start talking about the details of a proposed peace plan that goes beyond the same statements that even Netanyahu and Liberman know to declare by now.

The only speaker who presented a concrete vision was Gilead Sher, a political ally of Rabin and Barak, who today leads the organization “Blue White Future.” Sher was the...

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Major Israeli construction company pulls out of settlement industry

Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday morning that Africa Israel Investments, an international holding and investment company based in Israel, will no longer build homes in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. This, after years that Africa Israel’s daughter company, Danya Cebus, has consistently built homes in settlements, contrary to international law.

There is no mistaking this decision. Lev Leviev, one of the most prominent tycoons in Israel, did not wake up one morning and understand, by chance, that the occupation is a terrible injustice toward millions of subjects who lack basic rights and who have been under our military rule for nearly 50 years. No. It took years. Years in which Leviev discovered that he could not continue building in the settlements while enjoying legitimacy in the international business world.

Settlement of Halamish, next to Nabi Saleh (Activestills)

Settlement of Halamish, next to Nabi Saleh (Activestills)

The opposition took the form of protests, pressure on the British government to cut business ties with Leviev, and divestment from his company. Between the profit he could make off the occupation and the profit he could lose in the rest of the world, Leviev chose the world.

This is another huge victory for the boycott movement and the activists who choose to fight against the occupation nonviolently. This is a victory for those who want to tell Israelis that even if the occupation is currently profitable, things can easily change. Africa Israel’s decision won’t stop the settlement enterprise, and its impact will likely be marginal. However, the message continues to permeate.

Figures show: Peace talks and settlement construction go hand in hand
What ‘painful concessions’ are left for Palestinians to make?

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IDF court convicts Palestinian non-violent organizer, EU human rights defender

Israeli military court convicts Abdullah Abu Rahmah of obstructing a bulldozer building the separation barrier. His previous trial and imprisonment was followed closely by western governments.

Abdullah Abu Rahmah at his trial in the Ofer Military Court, September 15, 2010. (Photo by Oren Ziv/

Abdullah Abu Rahmah at his trial in the Ofer Military Court, September 15, 2010. (Photo by Oren Ziv/

Abdullah Abu Rahmah, one of the central organizers of the popular resistance protests against the separation barrier in the West Bank village of Bil’in, was convicted of obstructing the work of a soldier by an Israeli military court this week. He will likely be sentenced to four months in prison.

Abu Rahmah, who was recognized by the European Union as a “human rights defender” dedicated to non-violence, previously served over a year in prison for organizing “illegal marches” as well as for “incitement.” All political demonstrations are illegal for Palestinians under Israeli military law.

+972 named Abu Rahmah “person of the year” in 2010. The choice was made, we wrote at the time:

Among other things, Abu Rahmah was arrested in the past for possession of spent tear gas grenades the Israeli army shot at protesters in Bil’in. The indictment, in which he was not convicted, referred to the used grenades as “weaponry.”

A display of spent tear gas canisters for which Abu Rahmah was indicted but not convicted. (Photo by Oren Ziv/

A display of spent tear gas canisters for which Abu Rahmah was indicted but not convicted, Bil’in, January 3, 2010. (Photo by Oren Ziv/

This week Abu Rahmah was convicted by a military court of obstructing the work of a soldier. The incident occurred in 2012 when he attempted to stop a bulldozer from clearing the route for the construction of a fence in the Beitunia area of the West Bank. According to AFP, Abu Rahmah’s conviction will include a four-month suspended sentence for an arrest in 2009, in addition to another that the court will decide on in the beginning of December.

Abu Rahmah’s attorney, Gaby Lasky, told AFP that the conviction is part of the army’s continual harassment of non-violent activists. The indictment is politically rather than criminally motivated, she added.

Regarding Abu Rahmah’s previous arrest, it is important to clarify that any...

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For the Israeli media, Gazan lives are little more than expendable

Nearly two months after the end of Operation Protective Edge, the Israeli media refuses to ask the difficult questions. Who decided that killing entire families is now allowed? What is the justification for doing so? And why won’t the army explain why it killed five members of the Joudah family?

Why doesn’t anyone care about the Joudah family? Nearly two months have passed since Israeli Air Force pilots bombed their yard in Gaza, killing the mother of the family and four of her children. Until today, the IDF has not published an explanation of the incident. Actually, almost no one has bothered to ask. A mother and four of her children were sitting in their yard and were killed with no prior notice, and the Israeli media doesn’t deem this worthy of a story. Why?

It happened on August 24. According to Issam Joudah’s testimony, the family was sitting in the shade of their yard in order to get some fresh air during the hot summer months. Issam was making coffee in the house when the missile exploded in the yard, killing his wife and four of his children. Only two children survived – one of them was badly wounded and is undergoing rehabilitation in Germany.

Palestinian children carry goods that were rescued from the village of Khuza'a, which has undergone of intense attacks and was largely destroyed during the Israeli offensive.

Palestinian children carry goods that were rescued from the village of Khuza’a, which has undergone of intense attacks and was largely destroyed during the Israeli offensive.

Why was the home bombed? The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit had this to say: “We do not respond to specific events, the updates on investigations that have been opened can be accessed via the Military Advocate General’s website.” Scanning the website, one cannot find the Joudah family’s name, but rather a list of seven incidents that took place during Operation Protective Edge that the Military Advocate General decided to investigate. That’s it. Any further questions were not answered by the IDF Spokesperson.

As I previously wrote, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily did not even report on the deaths of the family. Not a single word has been written about the bombing since. Even media outlets that initially reported on the deaths of the family members did not come back and...

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Facing increased right-wing violence, Israeli leftists learn to fight back

Attacks against Arabs in Jerusalem became routine this past summer and in Tel Aviv left-wing activists faced violence from the Right. ‘We don’t want to attack Baruch Marzel’s headquarters or anything, but we believe the victimhood of the Left must end here,’ one activists explains.

Thursday and Saturday nights in downtown Jerusalem have become terrifying. On those days, a group of youth gathers in West Jerusalem’s Zion Square, often next to a permanent pop-up stand manned by members of anti-miscegenation group Lehava. The youth meet there and then take to the streets chanting “Death to Arabs,” harassing and assaulting Arab cab drivers, women in hijabs and businesses that employ Arabs. Since they became active, fewer and fewer Palestinians have been stepping foot in this part of the city.

The few left-wing activists who dare to be out on the streets on these nights usually walk alongside the youth, quietly, documenting their actions and calling the police – but without getting involved, knowing full well that the violence could at any moment be directed at them. Recently, however, they decided to change their approach. Last Thursday, around 200 of them gathered in Zion Square to stand up to the violence.

That night marked the (temporary) crystallization of left-wing self defense groups in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other cities in Israel. Not many could have known, but among those 200 protesters were a few dozen who came prepared for the possibility of a violent confrontation with right-wing extremists.

“It was the most significant left-wing event in Jerusalem since the protests in Sheikh Jarrah,” one veteran activist said.

“The collective, anti-racist presence was no less than amazing,” said Eyal, another activist from Jerusalem. “A month ago, you couldn’t imagine such an event; not just being defensive and under the radar, but attacking, marking territory, marking our enemies and saying loud and clear that they are illegitimate – that they have no place in the public discourse. It means coming out in numbers, coming with confidence, showing strength and being ready in the event we are attacked.”


“Let’s just say we came prepared. Definitely prepared. Out of 200 protesters, 40-50 knew how to respond. If the situation presented itself – they knew what to do. By interposing themselves and defending, not attacking or looking to fight. But they know very well how to if need be,” he said.

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Seven years later, Israel decides Gaza blockade is ineffective

After seven years of siege, the defense establishment has suddenly discovered that the blockade on Gaza is not helpful. It’s no coincidence, of course, that this realization comes after a war that devastated the Strip and has the Palestinians focused on reconstruction. 

“Israel now admits that the almost-airtight blockade of Gaza has done more harm than good.” I am always amazed at the ease with which these sentences are written by this or that analyst. Written so nonchalantly to the point that it feels like the writer might as well just shrug and say, “Well that didn’t work, let’s try something else.”

As if that same defense establishment and those same analysts weren’t the ones who actively promoted the policy of siege for the past seven years. As if they aren’t responsible for embittering the lives of 1.8 million people. As if they didn’t kill thousands in Gaza and dozens in Israel, sowing unbelievable destruction over the course of several wars and operations, all in the name of their holy policy. As if they didn’t allow the Israeli public to become accustomed to the claim that there is no blockade, and if there is then it is Egypt, not us, who is responsible, and if it is us then it is justifiable and we owe the Palestinians absolutely nothing and why the hell do they keep shooting at us anyway. As if they didn’t present the siege as the solution to rocket fire from Gaza and to the terrible conditions of the Israeli population living around the Strip. And as if, just two months ago, they didn’t praise, justify and march to war by sending soldiers into Gaza, while condemning the left, which claimed that the blockade is neither legal, moral or helpful.

Mariam Al Nawasra, age 85, cries when recalling the attack on her family's home during the last Israeli offensive, September 16, 2014. The attack killed four members of the family, Salah (age 24), his wife Aesha, who was 4-month pregnant, and brothers Mohammed (age 2) and Nidal (age 4).

Mariam Al Nawasra, age 85, cries when recalling the attack on her family’s home during the last Israeli offensive, September 16, 2014. The attack killed four members of the family, Salah (age 24), his wife Aesha, who was 4-month pregnant, and brothers Mohammed...

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How my Jewish grandfather spent WWII in a German uniform

What if I told you that my late grandfather was a Jewish Soviet spy who infiltrated a Nazi army unit during World War II to support partisans, Jews and the Red Army? This is the true story of Jacob Ingerman, recently published as an e-book in English, titled, ‘A Jew in the ‘Service’ of the Reich.’

Trying to tell my grandfather’s war story is quite difficult, considering how completely imaginary and unbelievable it sounds. His is the story of a Jewish man who wore Nazi uniforms for three years while actually serving as a Soviet spy, marching through Ukraine, Poland, Germany and Italy with a German army unit and also forming underground cells and smuggling information and weapons to partisans, Jews and the Red Army from wherever he was, spending time with rough Gestapo agents and at the same time avoiding medical examinations so his Jewish identity wouldn’t be revealed, and still finding the time to develop love affairs with socialist activists throughout Europe. Seriously?

Well, it does sound absurd, at least if you never knew my grandfather.

German soldiers and Jacob Ingerman (upper right) in Ukraine

German soldiers and Jacob Ingerman (top right) in Ukraine

I should state up front that I’m writing this post now because the Hebrew book written by my late grandfather, Jacob Ingerman, has finally been published as an e-book in English, which you can – and I think should – purchase here.

Jabob was born in Ukraine to a religious family and grew up to be a devoted communist and political activist in the USSR. After graduating with a degree in mathematics he went on to become a teacher in a remote village, and shortly after Germany attacked his country he joined the army and was wounded in combat.

Now, this is where things get really interesting. After going through special intelligence training, which included learning German, table manners and ballroom dancing, he was parachuted over enemy lines within Ukraine with a full cover story. It wasn’t even a week before he became friends with some German soldiers who told him about a tank division that was planning to pass over a nearby bridge that night. The intelligence was quickly transferred and that night the bridge – and quite a few German tanks – was bombarded and destroyed. The Nazi progress into...

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