A Facebook page supporting an IDF soldier who may face dismissal after he was videotaped cocking his weapon in a confrontation with a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in Hebron has garnered mass support since it was created on Wednesday.
In addition to the Facebook page “I am also with David of the Nahal Brigade,” which had 40,000 likes by the afternoon of its first day of existence — a number that was rising precipitously — some IDF soldiers posted pictures of themselves holding up signs expressing support for the embattled soldier.
The Facebook page bore the notice: “IDF soldiers are sick of being abandoned to the enemy and treated as pawns.”
In the video posted on YouTube this week, the soldier was recorded in an exchange with a Palestinian boy, who appears to be brandishing brass knuckles. At one point, the Palestinian made a sudden move toward the soldier, who, apparently feeling threatened, 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 yelled curses and threats at them.
The video then shows the soldier calling for backup.
His commanders backed the soldier’s action in drawing his weapon, but said that the curses and threats captured on the video were unbecoming of an IDF soldier.
According to the IDF, reports that the soldier had been sent to prison because of the incident were false.
“The IDF regrets the erroneous reports on the punishment of the soldier and emphasizes that his imprisonment stemmed from violence against his officers and was not connected to the video in question, which will be investigated as a separate matter when he returns to duty,” the IDF said in a statement. “Incidents of violence in the Nahal brigade are taken very seriously and are not consistent with IDF values.”
Prior to the release of the video, the soldier had been sentenced by a battalion commander to 20 days in prison stemming from two prior violent incidents.
The soldier denied the connection between the documented incident and his imprisonment in a Facebook post on his personal profile.
While officials said that the soldier could face dismissal after he finishes his prison sentence, they stressed that IDF soldiers have the right to draw their weapons in situations where they feel threatened, and that pictures from the incident clearly show the Palestinian boy had brass knuckles in his hand.