An Arab teen who was filmed slapping an IDF soldier in the face was arrested early Tuesday, her father said. The teen was taken into custody in a raid of the Shomron village of Nabi Salah, where she lived and where she and a gang of her peers confronted and abused soldiers, who were prevented from responding by their code of ethics. The army confirmed that an arrest had taken place.
The footage and images of the confrontation that was released Tuesday shocked Israelis, who watched as the detainee, Ahad Temimi, and a friend of hers curse, kick, and slap two IDF officers in a demonstration that took place in the village on Friday. The army said that prior to the incident, soldiers had removed the resident of a house from where stones were being thrown on them, and did not allow the residents back inside. At that point, a large number of Palestinian girls and women emerged and began shouting epithets at the soldiers, “in an effort to create a provocation,” the army said in a statement.
Commentators and “man in the street” surveys indicated that many people were angry at the soldiers for not responding more forcefully, while many others blamed the army for allowing soldiers to be placed in a situation like that without giving them the means to defend themselves. Among those was Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich, who said that “these images minimize the Israeli ability to instill fear in our enemies, stripping them of their effectiveness as a fighting force. These images are being viewed not just by Arabs in Judea and Samaria, but by our enemies in Gaza and Iran, as well as in the rest of the world. I call on Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott to act immediately to provide support for our soldiers in the field and to order them to ensure that such confrontations end in a difficult and painful way for our enemies.”
Jewish Home party head Education Minister Naftali Bennett was less judgmental, saying that he would “not give out grades to soldiers. I rely on the IDF to come to the correct conclusions about what to do. When I was fighting in Yehudah and Shomron I too was involved in difficult situations. I rely on the Chief of Staff to investigate this matter and to learn the necessary lessons.” With that, he said, “the place of this girl is in prison.”