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Soldier kicked off commanders’ course for ‘Death to Arabs’ post

Amir Sharabani regrets ‘temporary stupidity’; military says there is ‘zero tolerance’ for such behavior

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers in the West Bank (IDF Spokesperson's Unit/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of IDF soldiers in the West Bank (IDF Spokesperson's Unit/Flash90)

An Israeli soldier has been thrown off a commanders’ course for writing “Death to the Arabs” in a post on Facebook.

Amir Sharabani, a combat soldier in the Kfir Brigade, told friends that he wrote the words “in a moment of temper and frustration,” Channel 2 reported Thursday. “Everyone makes mistakes. I didn’t know I’d pay such a high price,” he said.

Sharabani responded on a Facebook thread about the death of three children in the southern Bedouin town of Rahat earlier this month, when a heater set their bedroom on fire. An Israeli Jewish woman had posted that she was surprised the television news was covering the tragedy. Sharabani’s response came after Arab surfers cursed the woman and wrote insulting comments, among them, “If only you would die, damn all the Jews!”

Later, Sharabani told his friends that he regretted what he had written in a moment of “temporary stupidity.” He said he was from a religious home with “values and an education of respecting all people, whoever they are, regardless of their backgrounds.”

In addition to expelling him from the course three weeks before its end, the IDF is considering whether to end his service as a combat soldier, Channel 2 reported.

“All my life, I’ve dreamed about being a combat soldier, and in one moment, it’s all over,” Sharabani reportedly told friends, who have protested to the IDF, seeking to have him reinstated to the course.

An IDF spokesman said, however, that there was “zero tolerance” for such behavior, calling it “inconsistent with what is expected of a soldier and a commander in the Israel Defense Forces.”

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