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Bennett apologizes for name mix-up of injured Border Police

CM 23/08/2021

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett apologized on Monday for confusing the names of Border Police officer St.-Sgt. Barel Shmueli, who was critically injured Saturday after a terrorist shot him on the Gaza border, and his father Yossi, who Bennett spoke to on Sunday night.
Nitza Shmueli, Barel’s mother, expressed outrage in an interview with 103FM radio on Monday, saying that three days after the incident she still couldn’t get answers from authorities.
“My son is fighting with his body, blood and soul for nothing,” Shmueli told the radio station, part of the Jerusalem Post Group. “The country is not worthwhile; I am not getting answers. A 12-year-old terrorist sniped at him from zero distance and all this with the knowledge that our soldiers knew they were not allowed to shoot and respond. Why did they send my son? Why? I want an answer!”

Barel remained Monday in serious condition and is intubated and sedated after undergoing a series of surgeries on Sunday.
Shmueli demanded that officials answer why her son was sent to stand by the wall along the Gaza border. “My son is an undercover officer from the Border Police; my son is a sniper, and he was sniped at!”
Barel’s mother asked people to continue to pray for her son. As of Monday morning, neither Bennett nor IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi had visited Shmueli or his family at the hospital.
“I have a recorded conversation between Prime Minister Bennett and the father of Barel the soldier. With the help of God, my son will rise to his feet. This conversation will be broadcast all over the world – not in Israel: all over the world,” Shmueli told 103FM.
“Mr. Bennett called at 10:30 p.m. and asked Barel’s father, whose name is Yossi: ‘How is Yossi? How does he feel?’ He said to him, his name is Barel. ‘Oh, sorry. How does he feel?’ Does the prime minister need to call to ask how he is feeling? Where are you? Where! Where is the chief of staff?” Shmueli demanded.
The mother said that former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu also called on Sunday night and asked questions and cried on the phone. “Every detail about the soldier he knows,” she said. “Mr. Bennett did not know the name of the soldier and asked what hospital he was in. Shame and disgrace.”
The recording of the call between Bennett and Bar-El’s father, Yossi, was leaked by Israeli media on Monday afternoon.
“Do you not know how to make decisions? What, are you scared?” asked Yossi in the recorded call. “Wake up. Who are you scared of? Abbas? You’re a coward. You and your whole government are cowards! Do something! Do you not have children? I have one child. What do you have to answer me, Mr. prime minister?
Bennett neglected to respond to Yossi’s statements, instead asking where his son was. The prime minister confused the names of the father and the son however and referred to Bar-El as Yossi.
Yossi invited Bennett to visit Bar-El, saying, “Come. We’re not people that do pogroms or things like they do to our soldiers. Come. Be a man. Come visit your soldier. Take responsibility already. 
When asked what questions her husband asked Bennett, Shmueli stressed to 103FM that this was irrelevant. “What is relevant to us is that my son will get up, wake up, and to beg in the media for prayers. My son is a soldier. My son is a hero. My son, from the age of 16 and a half, gave his soul to the army, to the State of Israel. In the end? He was eight hours in the operation room yesterday and nobody came.”
Shmueli added that a brigadier-general arrived with a number of officers and commanders to see Barel in the middle of the night. “I didn’t let him enter. Where were you for the eight hours my son was operated on? Where were you? Was your schedule packed? I think my son deserved to be part of the schedule. The brigade commander did not answer; there are no answers.”
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during a cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on August 8, 2021. (credit: OHAD TZVEIGENBERG‏/POOL)Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid during a cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on August 8, 2021. (credit: OHAD TZVEIGENBERG‏/POOL)
Bennett apologized on Monday for the mix-up. “Yossi expressed natural anger and frustration to me, and I embrace him and his family,” said Bennett. “IDF soldiers, certainly their families, have always been dear to my heart, and will continue to be so. I would like to once again strengthen and support the family at this difficult time, and regret that they were hurt.”
Bennett announced on Monday morning that he spoke with Barel’s father overnight and “delivered on behalf of all the people of Israel our prayers for the recovery of their heroic son.”
“I understand the pain of the family and feel their pain,” Bennett wrote on Twitter. “The people of Israel pray together with the family for Barel. The incident is currently being investigated, the lessons will be learned and the conclusions will be presented to me soon. We will not accept any harm to our soldiers.”
The prime minister warned that Israel would “settle the score” with Hamas terrorists and anyone who tries to harm IDF soldiers.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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