The Israeli Confessions

Aryeh Biro, on a looted Egyptian vehicle with a flat front tire, drove back and forth on the Ras Sudar-Sharm al-Sheikh axis, to make sure that his unit had done the job properly. He remembers the inspection at al-Tur, although not exactly as Ne’eman did. Biro claimed that he allowed each soldier to take something home. Usually, two camel blankets, but no more. At the same opportunity, incidentally, he also graciously admitted that he shot at one of the unit’s soldiers who were looting.


“A great shame!! I have no idea how I missed him. I aimed directly at his stomach. He had more luck than brains. I told them at once when the war began, ‘No personal booty.’ I also told them that if I wanted them to take booty, I would notify them in advance. Whoever did not listen did not obey orders and was caught red-handed, would immediately be caught in the sights of my gun. Besides looting, everything else was insignificant. For example: purity of arms. It is not true that Ratul and I do not respect this rule. We certainly consider it to be a supreme value and we were at pains to explain that to soldiers at every opportunity. Purity of arms means that the gun should always be clean, polished, professionally handled and always prepared to shoot at anything that moves. In the same context, let me say that it is not true that Raful and I agreed to kill prisoners. Absolutely not, we gave an explicit order prohibiting that, but at the same time we said that battalion 890 will not take prisoners. Now everyone could understand whatever they need to understand.

“The truth is that I hate wars very much, and I have long ago reached the conclusion that nothing good ever comes from them. Neither for the winners nor for the losers. But when I go to war I go to kill. Then I don’t bother with any stories about conscience or morality. War is not for amateurs. A paratrooper, who wants to ponder whether in this or that case it is permitted or prohibited to shoot should go and study philosophy,.

“We found a cell, in which there were an Egyptian officer and two sergeants. I ordered that they be taken alive for questioning. The old song was repeated. They begged for a drop of water and I wanted information from them about the size of their forces, waiting for me in Sharm al-Sheikh. My intelligence officer tried to make them talk, but they only repeated the same words again and again, ‘water, water, water.’ I did not intervene at first, until I was fed up with that nonsense. I pushed the intelligence officer aside, took my canteen, opened it and slowly spilled the contents on the floor in front of the Egyptian officers face. I told them that whoever opened his mouth and began speaking would get what was left in the canteen. One of them broke down and talked. I closed the canteen, put it back in my belt, took out my pistol and gave each one of the three a bullet in the head.

“I knew that I had given my guys terrific mental preparation. I do not know what my soldiers remember today, how clear their memories are, although they are younger than me. All in all, they were pretty scared. For some of them it was their first meeting, close up, with death. I suppose that many little things grew in their minds to huge proportions. Some of them, who later became senior and excellent commanders in the Israeli army, got hit with my stick in Sinai, because they did not always understand what I wanted. On the other hand, I loved them with all my heart and I feel hurt for every scratch they got. Their conduct in Sharm al-Sheikh, except for the looting, by the end of the war, turned them into full-blown fighters in my eyes. Incidentally, 20 years later, I happened to command the Sharm al-Sheikh area again. Every time passed by the main road I would look aside to see between the crevices in the rocks, very high up, the many skeletons of the Egyptians whom I shot. How did I know that those were my skeletons? Because only I was a good guy and let them throw down their weapons, and escape as far as they could before I mowed them down. I knew that if I shot them, they would stay there like a red banner, to remind the Egyptians for all time not to mess with us”.