Hamas, Hezbollah ‘hide missiles in children’s rooms,’ says ex-IDF senior officer on US tour

A former Israel Defense Forces’ Deputy Military Advocate General is on mission to bring the complexities of Israel’s battle against ruthless terrorist organizations to campuses across the United States and Britain.

Col. Eli Baron told JNS in an exclusive interview that his goal is to decrease the enormous and “inconceivable” gap that exists between the way that international audiences perceive Israel’s military operations and the lengths that Israel’s military goes to minimize civilian casualties.

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Baron, who spent more than 20 years in the IDF’s Military Advocate General’s Corps, and three years at the IDF’s National Defense College, has already spoken at Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan in recent days. He will also speak at Cornell University, West Point Military Academy and King’s College in London, among several other campus venues. The tour has been organized by the Our Soldiers Speak organization

The following is a transcript of the interview. It has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

Q: Can you describe how audiences on American campuses have been responding to your talks?

A: No audience enters the talk and leaves it in the same way. They discover a gap between what they think and what they hear from us. There are sometimes military personnel among the audiences who tell me, “We ourselves were in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. We understand how much effort is needed to make these efforts to minimize harm to civilians, and the effort you are making is incredible.”

Others still struggle with the high number of casualties from conflicts such as “Operation Protective Edge” [Israel’s 2014 conflict with Hamas in Gaza]. This is the nature of operations that take place in circumstances that are very different from those in a discussion room at a university. When you deal with organizations that force these conditions on us, we can’t ensure low numbers of casualties, but we make every possible effort to decrease those numbers.

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