Columnist regrets accusing Gaza war widow of killing own husband

But Hagai Huberman sticks by assertion Michal Kastan Kedar and others on the left cause Israeli deaths by ceding land

War widow Michal Kastan Kedar (screen capture: Channel 2)
War widow Michal Kastan Kedar (screen capture: Channel 2)

Right-wing journalist Hagai Huberman on Monday said he would consider apologizing for blaming an Israel Defense Forces war widow for her own husband’s death, but also stressed “I stand by the content of what I said.”

In his piece, under the headline “Kills her husband and cries that she’s a widow,” Israel National News correspondent Huberman had lashed out at Michal Kastan Kedar, whose husband was killed during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer, and who addressed the crowd at a left-wing rally in Tel Aviv on Saturday night.

Interviewed by Channel 2 on Monday, Huberman said he would “examine the option of apologizing to her.” He explained that he had paraphrased a well-known saying, but that people had failed to see the connection and had taken his words literally.

The saying he refers to is “The definition of chutzpah is a man who kills his parents and then asks for mercy because he is an orphan.” The closing words of Huberman’s op-ed accused Kastan Kedar of “killing her husband and crying that she is now a widow.”

His line of thinking, he said, was that the left was pulling Israel along a path that would lead to more wars and more widows.

“The gist of what I said is that circumstances equal casualties,” he said. “She spoke of returning to the diplomatic process. The diplomatic process equals ceding land. Ceding land equals casualties. History proves it.”

Kedar’s husband, Lt. Col. Dolev Kedar, was killed in a battle with Hamas fighters during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge.

In a speech before tens of thousands at the rally, Kedar urged more vigorous Israeli efforts toward a peace deal. “We can’t talk constantly about Iran and shut our eyes to the blood feud with the Palestinians, which costs us so much blood,” she said.

“Dear Michal Kedar,” responded Huberman in a Sunday evening column, “you lost your husband, lost your hope for a different, better life, only because 10 years ago there were people who listened to opinions such as yours, listened to aging generals such as [ex-Mossad chief] Meir Dagan, who stood by you on that stage.”

Had Israel not withdrawn from the Gaza Strip in the 2005 disengagement, Huberman argued, Kedar’s husband would not have been killed.

Huberman’s comments were panned in much of the Israeli press. Reached for comment, Kedar told the Walla news site that the comments “speak to the low level of the author.”

Responding to the criticism, Huberman said that Kedar’s appearance at an election rally — where she premised her pleas for political change on her loss — made her experience a legitimate part of the public debate.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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