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Bennett speaks with IDF chief, says commanders have ‘complete and absolute’ backing

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on June 16, 2021. (Haim Tzach/GPO)
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi meet at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on June 16, 2021. (Haim Tzach/GPO)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and senior commanders in the military’s Southern Command, amid the ongoing controversy over the fatal shooting of Border Police officer Barel Hadaria Shmueli during a riot along the Gaza border.

“My backing for IDF commanders is complete and absolute,” Bennett says, according to a statement from his office.

“Where there is a battle, there are also mistakes, and sometimes they are tragic,” he is quoted as telling the officers.

“I greatly appreciate the dedication of the IDF commanders and their immense personal sacrifice for the sake of national security,” the premier adds.

Shmueli’s parents have refused to accept the IDF’s investigation into the death, and his father has indicated that Bennett should resign, as the issue has become a focus of partisan politics.

“The family is permitted [to say] everything. Our job is to give answers, listen and embrace,” Bennett says, while adding he “expect politicians and public figures not to touch the IDF and its commanders. We have no other IDF.”

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