That’s right dear readers, there is a person who has proven more foolish in his actions than Professor Toaff with his insinuations about the veracity of historic blood libels against Jews. If you’ve been reading the Israeli or Egyptian press in the past week, you would have read that the Egyptians are quite angry with the Jewish state and its army. The reason? A documentary about an Israeli army unit that claimed a massacre by the Israelis of 250 Egyptian soldiers. The commanding office of the unit, former Minister of Defense and current Minister of Infrastructures (whatever the hell that might mean), Binyamin Ben Eliezer, immediately and publicly denied the accusations. He, followed by soldiers who had been there, claimed the Egpytian soldiers were actually Palestinian fedayeen and that they were not massacred but killed in battle.
Of course, the Egyptians were having none of that. The attacks came swiftly within the Egpytian parliament and press, the diplomats demanded answers from the Israeli ambassador, Ben Eliezer had to cancel an official visit to Egypt (and is now being warned of a potential arrest), and the cold peace Egypt has offered Israel since the 1970s seemed to enter a deep freeze.
Except for one little problem. The Jerusalem Post reports that the film’s director, Ran Edelist, a journalist, has admitted to misidentifying the soldiers as Egyptians and causing confusion about what happened with the voiceover in the soundtrack in combination with the photographs shown alongside.
Now he tells us!
About 18 minutes into the hour-long film, called Ruach Shaked, there is a description of how the Shaked soldiers pursued an “Egyptian commando” unit, 250 of whose fighters were killed in the ensuing battle.
After the film was completed, Edelist admitted on Thursday, he received documents which showed that the commando unit in question – while technically under the auspices of the Egyptian army – was actually made up of Palestinian fedayeen.
Edelist admitted that, apart from getting the identity of the enemy combatants wrong in the voiceover, a second problem occurred when the wrong photographs were shown on the screen during the description of the engagement between the two forces.
According to the film, the commandos were in retreat when they were “eliminated” by the unit. Shaked veteran Yaariv Gershoni described in the film how the unit hunted down the commandos from a helicopter, which relayed information to forces on the ground as to the exact location of the fedayeen.
Gershoni said in the film that the enemy commandos in that engagement “were in a pitiful state and very frightened. A number of them hid in holes in the sand and covered themselves up so we wouldn’t find them but we found them. Few of them fought back.”
As he spoke, photos flashed across the screen depicting enemy combatants with their hands up in various stages of surrender; in two snaps, an Israeli soldier stood by them with a gun. Other pictures showed an Israeli soldier with a gun standing over dead bodies. These pictures were in marked contrast to Gershoni’s audio description and, Edelist said on Thursday night, he now realized they were inappropriate.
The IBA’s head of documentary films, Ittay Landsburg Nevo, told the Post that the photos in fact came from a separate incident in the Sinai.
Oops. Once you shatter a mirror, you can’t put it back together.
Read the article, it’ll make you sad. It’ll make you shake your head. It’ll make you wonder what is wrong with people.