A Facebook page launched this week provided, of all things, an anonymous outlet for IDF officers to upload their cartoon sketches of Adolf Hitler, and it’s proving popular, drawing dozens of responses and nearly 800 likes within a few days.
The page was opened in response to the decision to remove a cadet in an officers’ training course who was discovered to have doodled a caricature of Adolf Hitler, along with several other historical and fictional personalities, in the margins of his notebook during class.
The incident occurred last summer, but the decision to remove the artistic cadet, along with a fellow cadet who admired the pictures and saved them, was announced on Monday.
According to Haaretz, the offending scribbler is the grandson of Holocaust survivors and saw nothing amiss in drawing a cartoon of the fuhrer — alongside other figures such as David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Harry Potter and Mickey Mouse — while he was bored in class.
He had intended to destroy the sketches, but the second cadet took a liking to the work and kept the pages, which were later discovered by their commanders.
The battalion commander said, in a recording obtained by the paper, that drawing Hitler was a “serious, unthinkable crime” and that a psychologist would hospitalize the scribbling would-be officer on “suspicion of insanity.”
The Facebook page, launched on Tuesday, was created in solidarity with the removed cadets and has drawn multiple artistic responses, most of them quick sketches of Hitler in a TV-cartoon style, and signed with a simple declaration of rank.
The creators of the page, who are also officers, told Channel 2 Thursday that there was no desire to offend anyone by uploading the pictures. “The goal is to bring awareness of the incident and raise the issue of freedom of expression and opinion in the army, and in the public,” they said.
The unnamed officers also made the page in protest of a bill, currently making its way through the Knesset, which would ban the use of Nazi and neo-Nazi symbols and slogans in Israel. “We believe that everyone, citizens, soldier or officer, has the right to independent opinion and free expression,” the creators of the page said
As of Thursday evening, the IDF had not responded to the new Hitler sketch Facebook solidarity page, but it’s probably just as well, for their careers, that the creators and uploaders have remained anonymous.