Givati Brigade fighters were documented on Friday attacking leftist anarchists in Hebron, beating one of them up. As usual, the video that spread like wildfire on the social networks omits the hours of harassment against the Givati soldiers, but some of the less smoothly-cut versions do include the scene just before the beating when the anarchists gang up on soldiers, one of them who was detained escapes, and one female anarchist violently pushes the soldier who finally lost it.
התקרית בחברון: הלוחם מעכב את פעיל השמאל הקיצוני יחד עם לוחם נוסף, כאשר פעילה דוחפת אותו והלוחם מפציר בהם – ״לא לדחוף חייל, לא באלימות״.
הפעיל בורח מעמדת העיכוב בניגוד להוראת הלוחם שמבצע עליו מעצר בכח. pic.twitter.com/9mCudJj4rH
— הלל ביטון רוזן | Hallel Bitton Rosen (@BittonRosen) November 25, 2022
Remember Elor Azaria? On March 24, 2016, in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron, one Abdel Fattah al-Sharif, an Arab terrorist who had just stabbed an Israeli soldier, was shot and “neutralized” by the IDF force on the ground. Then, 11 minutes later, he was shot dead by Sergeant Elor Azaria. Azaria was arrested and tried in a legal affair that pitted left and right in Israel the way few others have done, with the IDF brass turning on one of its own. Azaria was sentenced to 18 months in prison and demoted to private. He was released from prison after serving 9 months (Elor Azaria: If I Could Go Back in Time to Hebron, I’d Do It Again).
The reason Sergeant Azaria was dragged through the mud was the fact that B’Tselem disseminated a video of his action, eliminating a terrorist who was lying near-lifeless on the ground. If not for that video, no one above Azaria would have made a peep about it, or, at most, Azaria’s direct commander would have a talk with him, end of story. But B’Tselem was there, and the IDF, which considers itself an occupying army, was forced to punish its rogue soldier for all the world to see.
Back to the scene in Hebron: instead of backing his soldiers, who are stuck with the impossible task of behaving like those guards outside Buckingham Palace and not letting those aggressive, militant anarchists get under their skin – Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi went all hellfire, and brimstone on his men, and suspended them.
One Givati soldier was suspended because he said into the Breaking the Silence camera: “Ben Gvir will bring back order around here.” He was baited by the cameraman to say what it was Ben Gvir would do to bring order around here but was smart enough to keep his ideas to himself.
Here’s what Ben Gvir did: unlike Kochavi, who showed as much loyalty to his soldiers as one would a used tissue paper, Ben Gvir on Saturday night appeared on every single TV news channel calling on the police (he is soon to command as National Security Minister) to check if “the members of the extreme left did not provoke and harm the soldiers before.”
Ben Gvir said he had met with the family of one of the soldiers over Shabbat, which could mean that, like the female soldier who was beaten up by a Haredi intruder the Shabbat before, the Givati soldier is a Hebron resident. The future minister then explained: “I know very well the people of the extreme left who come to Hebron: they abuse the soldiers, humiliate them, curse them, and many times also attack them. I call on the police to check if in this case the members of the extreme left did not provoke the soldiers and hit them first so that the photos shown from the event were fake and served one side.”
Ben Gvir also demanded to know why the female anarchist who is clearly seen attacking the soldier is not in jail and noted that had it been a hills youth, the media would be celebrating the event.
To emphasize just how corrupt Israel’s occupation of land that should have been annexed 50 years ago, here is an astonishing paragraph from Kochavi’s Saturday night announcement. Remember, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi is the commander of the entire Israeli army:
“The IDF does not use violence. IDF soldiers are allowed to use force according to defined principles and laws, and they have the powers and tools required for this. However, they are strictly prohibited from using force unnecessarily other than to carry out the mission and self-defense, and certainly not over losing one’s temper or for revenge. Any event of this type is serious, wrong, unethical, and illegal.”
What a crazy-making statement, starting with the suggestion that “the IDF does not use violence,” and going down to expecting the soldier on the ground to become a legal and ethical expert, lest he makes a mistake that ends his career, if not worse. Do you know a more surefire way to render soldiers so fearful of prosecution that they would, sooner or later, be killed by a terrorist they hesitated to check too aggressively?
On November 1, half a million Ben Gvir/Smotrich voters cast their ballots hoping this craziness would stop. I, for one, can’t wait.