Lt. Amit Shuker served for six years as a company commander in the Israel Defense Forces.
Visiting the United States during the second intifida, he saw “a huge gap of understanding and knowledge” between what was going on in the field and what the media were reporting.
In response, Shuker – who will speak to the men’s club of Temple Emanuel of the Pascack Valley on Sunday, Feb. 7 – created a multimedia presentation setting the record straight.
“I try not to get into politics,” said Shuker, who now lives in the United States. “The main reason for the presentation is to explain to people the different threats Israel faces.”
Shuker said he breaks down each threat into easily understandable components, so that listeners will be better able to understand why the IDF takes the actions it does, “why they do ‘A’ and not ‘B.'”
While the media may ask a retired general to speak on behalf of Israeli actions, “there’s a huge gap between what he knows and the average Joe knows. He speaks at too high a level, so people are getting lost.”
Dealing with Hezbollah, for example, Shuker will explain “why it is so hard to penetrate that organization. I’ll talk about who they are and how they train,” he said. “I’ll also explain why they are successful.”
During his presentation, he will also speak about the threat from Egypt, “even with the peace agreement,” and about Syria, which aids Hezbollah.
“There will be a big piece about Iran,” he said, “how they sponsor terrorism and how they ship weapons to Hezbollah and Hamas. All of this is public information,” he added. “Nothing is secret.”
Shuker said he presents so much information that some synagogues have chosen to have him come more than once, presenting the data in smaller installments.
“At the end of the presentation, [listeners] must understand the basics, so when the IDF operates, [people] can tell if the media is speaking the truth.”
Often it does not, he said, attributing the errors to bias.
“During the last operation in Gaza, Israel was accused of killing innocent people,” he said. “But they were killed because Hamas has a system of hiding its people among civilians. They shoot rockets from schools and hospitals [and have] operatives dressed as doctors.”
He recalled that during Operation Cast Lead, “One Hamas leader tried to pass between two buildings by holding a child. This is not being told in the world media.”
Shuker said “the IDF really tries to eliminate hurting innocent people.”
As a company commander, he learned – and taught others – about “the purity of arms.” Quoting from the IDF’s ethical code of conduct, Shuker said the phrase means that “the soldier shall make use of his weaponry and power only for the fulfillment of the mission and solely to the extent required; he will maintain his humanity even in combat. The soldier shall not employ his weaponry and power in order to harm non-combatants or prisoners of war, and shall do all he can to avoid harming their lives, body, honor, and property.”
Shuker added, however, that especially during a war, it is hard to distinguish between who is innocent and who is not when dealing with terrorists.
“They’re not wearing uniforms,” he said, noting that during the Gaza campaign, Hamas stored its weapons in different houses and passed from house to house “as civilians.”
“Hamas says 1,000 innocent citizens were killed by the IDF; but [they] were not innocent. They were terrorists, warriors, soldiers. They just have different techniques.”
Shuker said he realized during the Second Lebanon War that “the media made many mistakes in their reporting because they didn’t understand the geography and the conflict. I want to educate people so they understand what’s going on.”
For more information, call (201) 391-0801 or visit www.temple-emanuelpv.org.