search

After right’s backlash, IDF cuts jail time for Hebron soldier who taunted activist

Commander of Givati brigade’s Tzabar battalion — who has come under threats over the punishment — accepts soldier’s apology; he will serve 6 days instead of 10

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A Givati soldier (left) is seen confronting an activist in the West Bank city of Hebron, November 25, 2022, and then-Maj. Aviran Alfasi (right), now the commander of the Tzabar batallion, in April 2019. (Screenshot: Breaking the Silence; Israel Defense Forces)
A Givati soldier (left) is seen confronting an activist in the West Bank city of Hebron, November 25, 2022, and then-Maj. Aviran Alfasi (right), now the commander of the Tzabar batallion, in April 2019. (Screenshot: Breaking the Silence; Israel Defense Forces)

The Israel Defense Forces on Friday said it had reduced the sentence of a soldier who taunted a left-wing activist in the West Bank city of Hebron last week by four days.

The soldier, who last Friday confronted an activist and boasted that there would be no tolerance of such behavior when far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir becomes national security minister, was initially sentenced to 10 days in military jail.

The jailed soldier later apologized and asked that his sentence be dismissed or lessened.

“Following the acceptance of responsibility and remorse expressed by the soldier… the commander of the battalion, Lt. Col. Aviran Alfasi, recommended yesterday to his commanders to soften his sentence by four days,” the IDF said Friday.

The head of the IDF’s Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Toledano, accepted Alfasi’s recommendation, and the soldier will now serve just six days over the incident.

Right-wing lawmakers and activists had expressed outrage at the initial sentence, publicizing the name and photo of Alfasi, the commander of the Givati Brigade’s Tzabar Battalion.

The commander also faced invective and threats, mostly on social media, but also coming directly to his phone, since meting out the punishment.

The military made no mention of the backlash in its statement and gave no indication that it had affected the decision to shorten the soldier’s jail time.

IDF chief Aviv Kohavi has slammed “political meddling” in the case, saying on Wednesday that only commanders would decide how to handle wayward soldiers.

Head of the Otzma Yehudit party Itamar Ben Gvir at the scene of a suspected terror attack near the entrance to Jerusalem, on November 23, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz has also denied requests by Ben Gvir to visit the soldier.

During the incident last week, a fellow member of the soldier’s team was seen tackling an activist to the ground and punching him in the face. The second soldier was not immediately punished, aside from being immediately suspended following the assault.

Troops in the Givati Brigade have been embroiled in several other recent behavioral incidents in Hebron that have led to suspensions.

An Israeli soldier is seen punching a left-wing activist in Hebron in the West Bank, November 25, 2022. (Breaking the Silence)

Givati troops have been embroiled in several other recent behavioral incidents in Hebron that have led to suspensions.

A senior military commander on Monday warned Israeli troops they would face repercussions for actions the military deems immoral.

The West Bank has been on edge over the past year, with the IDF launching a major anti-terror offensive mostly focused on the northern West Bank to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 31 people in Israel and the West Bank dead since the start of the year. Hebron is in the southern part of the territory.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
image
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure: example@domain.com
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.