Video of Arabic-speaking IDF soldiers laughing and cursing Israel goes viral

Military spokesperson says troops to be disciplined; Likud MK slams ‘bunch of brats’ and calls for prosecution; lawyer: Edited video didn’t show soldiers speaking in defense of IDF

Illustrative: IDF reservists patrolling along the Lebanese border near the Israeli village of Zar'it. (Roy Sharon/Flash90)
Illustrative: IDF reservists patrolling along the Lebanese border near the Israeli village of Zar'it. (Roy Sharon/Flash90)

A group of Arabic-speaking Israeli soldiers who filmed themselves joking about supporting Jenin and Palestinians in the wake of an IDF raid there this week drew outrage on Tuesday.

The video, which one of the soldiers posted to social media, shows a group of four men in IDF uniform laughing and speaking in Arabic, saying: “God supports Jenin,” “God supports Palestine” and “Israel can go to hell.”

According to Hebrew media reports, the soldiers serve in the Logistics Corp and filmed the video while on a military base in the south.

In response to the video’s circulation, the IDF spokesperson issued a statement saying that the “soldiers’ behavior contravenes IDF values, and they will be disciplined.”

It later said they had been arrested and a Military Police investigation opened. However, they were released a short time later.

In a statement to Army Radio, a lawyer for the soldiers said that the video had been heavily edited.

“In most of the conversation the suspects came to the defense of the IDF soldiers. It is appropriate that the treatment be only disciplinary and not criminal,” the lawyer said.

On Monday, heavy clashes broke out between gunmen and Israeli troops carrying out an arrest raid in Jenin. An Israeli helicopter gunship carried out rare strikes, the first in the West Bank in some two decades, in order for eight wounded soldiers to be evacuated from the battle zone after a vehicle was hit by an explosive device, the military and local officials said. Seven Palestinians were killed, and dozens injured.

Arab citizens of Israel are exempt from mandatory IDF service, though they may choose to enlist, while Druze Israelis are required to serve.

Likud MK Yuli Edelstein, chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, tweeted that the soldiers should face serious disciplinary action.

“The decision to prosecute this bunch of brats is appropriate and correct,” he wrote. “I expect it to be dealt with quickly and with a significant punishment.”

IDF troops have at times filmed or photographed themselves carrying out pranks, joking around or otherwise violating military code in jest, with punishments usually being dished out only when such footage leaks to the general public.

Last month, two IDF soldiers who filmed themselves carrying out target practice while completely nude were each sentenced to 21 days in jail.

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