Five Soldiers Suspended for Attacking Left-Wing Activist in Chevron

IDF soldiers stand guard during a Palestinian protest near the Jewish community of Elon Moreh, Friday. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)

Five IDF soldiers were suspended after a left-wing activist was beaten by two soldiers in Chevron on Friday during a visit expressing outrage about riots in the city . The activist was reportedly arrested after the incident.

Video reportedly from the scene shows the activist being pulled aside by the soldiers into a bus station. As he was being placed in the station, a woman pushed one of the soldiers. As the two soldiers then confronted the woman, the previously detained activist began walking away from the station. As he was walking away, one of the soldiers grabbed him in a chokehold from behind before throwing him to the floor and punching him in the face.

The IDF is investigating the incident.

When the activist asked if he was doing anything against the law, the soldier responded, “You do everything against the law. I decide what is the law and you are acting against the law.”

“The soldiers’ behavior is severe, and the violence is not in keeping with the values of the IDF,” said IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi. “The incident will be investigated by the commander of the North Command Maj.-Gen. Yehudah Fox. The violence will be investigated by the IDF police, and at the end, they will give their conclusions to the military prosecution. The rules and instructions enable the soldiers the freedom to fulfill their tasks, but they are not allowed to use unnecessary force, and they are not allowed to be violent.”

Kochavi added that “the soldiers involved have been suspended from taking part in operational activities until the end of the investigation.”

Meanwhile, Otzma Yehudit party leader MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is expected to be appointed police minister in the next government, suggested on Motzoei Shabbos that the left-wing activists were to blame.

Ben-Gvir called on police to investigate whether the activists had provoked the troops.

“I know these extreme leftists who come to Chevron well. They abuse soldiers, insult them, curse them, and many times they also attack them,” Ben-Gvir claimed. “I call on police to investigate if, in this case, the extreme leftists didn’t provoke soldiers and hurt them first so that the photos of the incident would be falsified.”

While there was “no room for harming extreme leftists on the basis of their opinions,” Ben-Gvir charged that activists often only document parts of their confrontations with soldiers. “And the moment it turns out the extreme leftists hurt the soldiers and attacked them, they should be arrested immediately and stand trial.”

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