Israeli Soldiers Mount Facebook Campaign for Accused Comrade — Get 80K Likes

'David' Punished for Pointing Gun at Teen on West Bank

Stand With Him: Israeli soldiers hold signs supporting comrade who was punished for pointing a gun at a Palestinian teenager.
haaretz
Stand With Him: Israeli soldiers hold signs supporting comrade who was punished for pointing a gun at a Palestinian teenager.

By Reuters

Published May 01, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli troops, covering their faces to avoid punishment, have mounted an online campaign in support of a soldier whom they believe was jailed for pointing his gun at Palestinians who were arguing with him.

The massive outpouring of support on Facebook was described on Thursday in front-page reports in the Israeli media as a sign of soldiers’ frustrations over their service in occupied territory, where their actions are often under scrutiny by journalists and pro-Palestinian activists with cameras.

Israelis, with the exception of most of the Arab community and ultra-Orthodox Jews, are conscripted at the age of 18.

The online furore erupted when the soldier, identified only as “David from the Nahal brigade”, was sentenced to 20 days in military prison after he was shown in a video clip loading and pointing his rifle at Palestinian youths who approached him during guard duty and argued with him.

The Israeli military issued a statement saying the soldier’s punishment was for unruly behaviour towards superior officers and not connected to the incident, which was posted on YouTube on Sunday by Palestinian activists and took place in the West Bank city of Hebron.

Nonetheless, troops rallied behind David. A Facebook page - “I also back David from Nahal” - showed hundreds of photographs, many of them of men and women soldiers in uniform who held placards in front of their faces with messages of support.

Another Facebook support page had more than 80,000 “likes” on Thursday.

In the past, the army has punished troops for posting material on social media, that has included, most famously, women soldiers posing in their underwear while holding guns.

“This is the first digital mutiny experienced by the Israel Defence Forces,” wrote Amos Harel, military affairs correspondent of the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper.

He said the social media campaign reflected “combat soldiers’ disagreement with a policy of constraint dictated by the High Command in dealing with Palestinian residents”.

Violence in the West Bank has decreased since a Palestinian uprising ended in 2006, but Palestinians and human rights groups regularly complain of heavy-handed treatment by the Israeli military.

Breaking the Silence, an Israeli human rights group that publishes soldiers’s accounts of their service in territory Israel occupied in a 1967 war, said the confrontation depicted in the “David” video was “far from unusual”.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads a far-right party, also came out, on his Facebook page, in support of David, saying the soldier “did the right thing”.

“This isn’t a reality show. It is a complicated and dangerous situation with which Israeli combat troops must deal on a day-by-day basis,” he wrote.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.