Bereaved father slams anti-gov’t protesters

‘Nobody should burn the country down’

Hagay Lober, who son Elisha Yehonatan was killed in action in Gaza, says they are hijacking the captives’ cause to try to bring the government down.

The father of an IDF soldier killed in action in Gaza has denounced renewed anti-government protests, accusing demonstrators of using the plight of bereaved families and the relatives of hostages to further their political aims.

“Nobody should burn the country down,” Hagay Lober, whose son Staff Sgt. (res.) Elisha Yehonatan Lober, 24, was killed in the southern Gaza Strip in December, wrote in a viral Facebook post on Saturday.

“You cannot dismantle the country. You cannot riot. You cannot block roads. You cannot clash with the police. You cannot call for military [refusal to serve]. You cannot attempt to break into the prime minister’s house,” added Lober.

He spoke after protesters gathered at the Knesset on Sunday night, demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resign and agree to early elections.

A day earlier, 16 people were arrested in Tel Aviv for blocking roads and violating public order. Protesters also clashed with police in Jerusalem, where some 200 people broke through barriers to protest near Netanyahu’s official residence, and in Caesarea, where they blocked roads close to the premier’s private home.

Hagay Lober holds a placard in Jerusalem depicting his son Staff Sgt. (res.) Elisha Yehonatan Lober, who was killed action in Gaza in December, and reading, “Enough of the demonstrations and the violent discourse, March 31, 2024. Source: Social media. (source: JNS)

The demonstrators called for the prime minister to resign in a familiar chant heard during the protests against judicial reform in the months preceding Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack.

Some families of hostages announced that they would join forces with those calling to overthrow the government.

Wrote Lober in his post, “You want to hear my opinion, too? In my opinion, Yonatan was killed because of the Oslo Accords, which some of you supported. In my opinion, Yonatan was killed because of the disengagement [from Gaza in 2005], which some of you encouraged with banners of support at the entrance to the kibbutzim.

“And yet, I don’t shout at you in the streets. I don’t block your path. I don’t refuse a [military] order. I don’t transfer my money overseas. I don’t curse your public representatives who still support all these disasters. I send and will send my sons to fight,” he added.

As some hostage families joined Brothers in Arms and the Kaplan Force for a four-day demonstration outside the Knesset, Lober accused them of hijacking the cause of freeing the captives to advance their political agendas.

Demonstrators protest calling for the release of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip and against the current Israeli government outside Hakirya Base in Tel Aviv, March 30, 2024. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.
(source: JNS)

“And to the ‘Kaplanistim,’ to the Brothers in Arms, to the [Ehud] Barak supporters and [Ehud] Olmert supporters who want to overthrow Bibi [Netanyahu], I say: ‘Don’t hitch a ride on the pain of the families,’” wrote Lober.

“Stop, for God’s sake, for the country’s sake, for victory’s sake. And if not, I and others will be there. Bereaved families, injured soldiers and hostage families who think differently. We will stand together in the face of anarchy. And we won’t let you. We just won’t,” he concluded.

In January, Lober, a rabbi and an actor, made the headlines for ‘‘October 7″ a play he wrote about grief that was performed exactly 30 days after his son was killed in action.

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