Two IDF soldiers from the 50th Battalion of the Nahal Brigade have been dismissed from their unit for campaigning on Facebook against orders to evict Jewish settlers on the West Bank, the army said Thursday.
“Two soldiers who have confessed to having posted photographs of themselves calling for a refusal to obey orders have been dismissed from their unit,” the army said in a statement.
“Use of social media for protest is not acceptable in view of the values of the IDF,” it said.
The two soldiers had posted a photo with their faces concealed behind a poster reading: “Soldiers of Battalion 50… do not evacuate Jews.”
The battalion could be called upon to take part in the eviction of Jews from illegally built settlements in the West Bank.
On Thursday, as the photos of the two soldiers went viral on Facebook, they were joined by soldiers from other units, including members of the Armored Corps’ 7th Brigade, Givati Brigade, Border Police and from the Netzah Yehuda battalion, who uploaded their own images.
IDF sources told Ynet that, as opposed to a similar case in late April — when soldiers posted pictures of themselves in support of a comrade who had been filmed threatening a Palestinian teen in Hebron — soldiers who agitate online for the refusal of direct orders will be “severely punished.”
On Wednesday, military forces demolished structures in Maale Rehavam, a settler outpost southeast of the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, after attempts at a voluntary evacuation failed, the army said.
Hebrew media said the army was also to raze more than a dozen structures in two other outposts, Ramat Gilad and Givat Assaf, by the weekend. However, on Thursday the Supreme Court issued a ruling delaying the evacuation of several outposts in response to residents’ petitions, in order to allow them to voluntarily leave the sites.
Israel considers settlement outposts built without government approval to be illegal. They usually consist of little more than a few trailer homes.