Proposed Monument to Egyptian Soldiers in Six Day War Stirs Controversy

By Zalman Ahnsaf

Noam party leader MK Avi Maoz. Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

YERUSHALAYIM – The proposal for the Israeli government to erect a monument to Egyptian soldiers killed in the Six Day War generated a new controversy on Thursday.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and the Noam party argued over the propriety of such a monument, as well as how to talk about the Egyptian soldiers it would honor.

The Noam party, which has one seat in the Knesset and enters as part of the Likud-led coalition, related its objection on social media: “Only in Lapid’s state of all its citizens is it possible to come up with a delusional idea like erecting a monument in memory of the enemy soldiers who tried to destroy us. The people of Israel chose a state with a Jewish identity, and so it will be.”

Gantz rebuked Noam for potentially harming relations with Egypt:

“Egypt is a strategic partner of the State of Israel, it is the first neighboring country to sign a peace agreement with us, and relations with it make a critical contribution to regional stability and Israel’s security at all times, especially during times of fighting in the Gaza Strip and against terrorism in Sinai.

“The attempt to designate Egypt as an enemy state by a party that will be a member of the coalition is a factual error and a strategic error. I condemn this grave statement, and I also call on the incoming prime minister to come out and denounce these statements in his own words,” Gantz said.

However, Noam’s statement did not refer to Egypt itself as an enemy state, only to its soldiers in the war who at the time were fighting against Israel.

According to Kan, an Egyptian delegation is due to visit next week to discuss the proposed memorial for the commandos.

The soldiers in question were killed in a battle with IDF troops, and their bodies were buried in at Kibbutz Nahshon, Haaretz reported over the summer.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi raised the matter during a phone call in July with Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who directed his office to look into it. No decision has been made.

Such a monument would not be without precedent. It would be the third of its kind honoring Egyptian soldiers who fought against Israel. One was built along Road 35 near Kiryat Gat, another in Ad Halom, near Ashdod.

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