A Soldier Killed by Friendly Fire

[From Rav Aviner's video blog – www.video.maale.org.il]

Question: It is known that a soldier killed in battle is considered holy. Is a soldier killed by friendly fire also considered holy?
Answer: If a soldier is killed in battle or during military exercises under any circumstances, whether it is in error or in superfluous mission, he is considered holy and was killed sanctifying Hashem's name. The use of the expression "holy" in this context is taken from the responsa of the Chatam Sofer (Yoreh Deah #333) regarding a person who was murdered by non-Jews. While here the soldier was seemingly killed by our own troops, this is not correct, because the reason we are at war is that the non-Jews continually attack us. There is no difference in how he was killed since the nature of war in bound up with danger. In war, there is the fog of battle and it is complex. It is impossible to run a war in a gentle manner until the enemy says "uncle." These occurrences are a part of war and part of the self-sacrifice of the soldiers. If in the responsa of the Chatam Sofer the murdered was referred to as "holy" since he was murdered by non-Jews for no reason, this is all the more so true in our case in which a soldier willingly goes into battle to protect the Nation of Israel, the Land of Israel and to sanctify Hashem's name. And he knows from the outset that things such as this can occur as it says in the Gemara in Shevuot (35b) that a king who kills a sixth of his soldiers in battle is not punished, since this is part of the calculations of war. We are obviously not freeing those who made the error, Tzahal thoroughly investigates such incidents. We are only discussing the soldier who was killed sanctifying Hashem's name.