IDF Soldier Sentenced to 10 Days in Jail for Political Remark

By Shmuel Smith

Israeli security forces deployed in Chevron, November 19. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

YERUSHALAYIM – An IDF soldier was sentenced to 10 days in a military jail on Tuesday for an inappropriate comment to a left-wing activist in Chevron last Friday.

The soldier was one five who had been suspended from duty for abusing activists in the city during altercations over the weekend.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit was quoted by Ynet as saying that the soldier was being punished for having “expressed himself on Friday in Chevron in a political manner.’

The reference was to an incident capture on video telling a group of activists that “[Otzma Yehudit head Itamar] Ben Gvir will create order here. You’ve lost it. All you do here is finished…”

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

Subsequently, the soldier wrote a letter of appeal to his commanding officer in the Givati Brigade asking for a lighter sentence.

In the letter, quoted by Ynet, he explained that his remarks were made under duress, and came in response to “demonstrators who cursed me and the other soldiers, and one of them shouted at me that as long as I carry out the orders of Ben Gvir, that I am a soldier of Ben Gvir. So I answered him in the same language.”

In addition, he expressed regret, saying that “I understand that I spoke in a manner that I should not have…I was very stressed at the time…I request pardon, and I will not say such things again…”

In response to the news, Ben-Gvir, who is expected to be named public security minister, said that the punishment “weakens the hands of the soldiers and does not strengthen them in the fight against terrorism,” and that he finds it “very unfortunate that a soldier who suffered harassment was sent to prison, just for mentioning my name.”

Ben Gvir wrote to Defense Minister Benny Gants requesting permission to visit him in the military prison on Wednesday.

There was no immediate response from Gantz.

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