Security forces on Wednesday evening reportedly briefly detained a Palestinian teenager in Hebron, who was filmed during a controversial confrontation with an IDF soldier that set of a Facebook firestorm.
A video of the confrontation was uploaded to the Internet earlier this week, creating a PR scandal for the IDF. The video showed a soldier in the Nahal Brigade, identified in the report as David Adamov, in an exchange with the 15-year-old Palestinian, who appeared to be brandishing brass knuckles.
At one point, the teen made a sudden move toward the soldier, who drew and cocked his rifle in response and pointed it at him. After another boy joined the scene from behind the soldier, the soldier shoved him away. The two Palestinians appeared to decide to leave, and as they walked away, the soldier kicked them and shouted obscenities and threats at them.
On Wednesday, the teenager involved in the altercation, Saddam Abu Sanina, was detained by Israeli security forces at the location of the filmed encounter, according to Palestinian sources cited by Ynet News.
The teen was released after a brief interrogation, during which he denied that he had held brass knuckles in his hand during the incident. In actual fact, he said, the object in his hand was a set of small, hand-held prayer beads of the kind commonly carried by pious Muslims.
Traditionally, devotees turn the beads over in their hands while reciting the names of Allah.
Meanwhile, the office of a political group responsible for filming the incident, “Youth Against Settlements,” was raided by IDF forces.
According to the report, the Palestinians in the raided office fully cooperated with the IDF, and told Israeli security forces that it was their right to film events happening in Hebron.
While Israeli army sources said that Adamov was being investigated over the incident and could face dismissal, they stressed that IDF soldiers have the right to draw their weapons in situations where they feel threatened, and said that pictures from the incident showed the Palestinian boy had brass knuckles in his hand.
Public support for the detained soldier, particularly among enlisted IDF personnel, became an Internet meme after the video was uploaded. A large number of uniformed men and women posted photographs of themselves since Wednesday — their faces covered to avoid punitive measures — holding signs with the words “I am also with David of the Nahal Brigade.”
The meme emerged from a Facebook page of the same name, which was created early on Wednesday and by midday Thursday had garnered almost 100,000 “Likes” — a number that was rising precipitously. The page explained that soldiers were sick of having their hands tied when dealing with Palestinian provocateurs in the West Bank.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz on Thursday strongly criticized the widespread support expressed by soldiers across social media for the soldier.
Gantz stressed that Facebook was not the place for soldiers to voice criticism of army related issues.
The chief of staff added that the IDF would conduct a thorough investigation of the Hebron incident and figure out how to prevent such scenarios from spiraling out of control in the future.
On Wednesday, Economics and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett praised the soldier’s behavior and said that he had acted correctly.
“I would respond just like the Nahal fighter did,” Bennett wrote in a Facebook post.