IDF pans staged clip shared by ministers showing pilots refusing to help overhaul-backing troops

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

Screenshot from a video shared July 20, 2023, on coalition members' social media. (Courtesy; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Screenshot from a video shared July 20, 2023, on coalition members' social media. (Courtesy; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari slams a produced video circulating online, and shared by coalition members, showing a scripted scenario of Israeli Air Force pilots refusing to help ground troops attacked by enemy forces due to the formers’ perceived support for the judicial overhaul.

Hagari in a statement says the video aims to cause “internal incitement” within the Israel Defense Forces, and should be condemned.

The video, which was shared by Culture Minister Miki Zohar on Twitter and by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir on Facebook, shows ground forces fighting in a war and asking for aerial support. Pilots in the video in response ask if the ground forces support the controversial judicial overhaul or not, before explosions are seen. A dying soldier then says: “My brothers, from right and left, don’t put politics in the army.”

Hagari says that the IDF “completely rejects all statements against the commanders and fighters of the standing and reserve Air Force. These are the best fighters and commanders in the IDF, who risk their lives night after night.”

“The camaraderie and putting one’s life at risk occur in every operational activity between the aerial fighters and the ground troops, who act as one army for the security of the State of Israel,” he adds.

Culture and Sport Miki Zohar at the ministry offices in Jerusalem, January 2, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Zohar then deletes the video — which had racked up more than 45,000 views — tweeting that he came across “a clip that tried to convey a unifying message in a thoughtful way” and shared it “to echo the message that we are brothers.”

“Unfortunately, a media outlet decided to take it out of context and present it as offensive toward some corps. This obviously wasn’t the goal and therefore I’ve deleted [the video],” Zohar adds.

Ben Gvir has not deleted his video, which has similarly gotten around 45,000 views.

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