The video showing IDF soldiers cheer as a sniper shoots a Palestinian protester has caused an uproar in the Israeli political establishment, drawing various reactions from across the political spectrum. “The soldier who opened fire and recorded the video needs to be brought to justice,” an Arab MK claimed.
Soldiers in southern Israel Photo Credit: Kobi Richter/TPS
MKs from across the political spectrum weighed in on the footage that shows an IDF sniper shooting a Palestinian protester near the border as other soldiers cheer him on. Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid wrote on Twitter that he believes that the IDF will investigate the incident in light of the video: “I am completely confident that the chief of staff and IDF commanders will investigate without hesitation and in accordance with the IDF values and rules. Israel’s moral strength is part of [our] national security and also what gives us the qualitative advantage over our enemies.”
Joint Arab List head MK Ayman Odeh condemned the video. “[This] is disturbing—cheers of joy for taking a life and what appears to look like an execution of someone who wasn’t threatening anyone,” he said. “The soldier who opened fire and recorded the video needs to be brought to justice but the person who gave the order to shoot unarmed protesters is the really dangerous one.”
MK Nachman Shai of the Zionist Camp, who previously served as the IDF spokesperson, responded to the video via Twitter. “The IDF is a moral army but even within its ranks, there can be immoral actions,” he warned. “All of these incidents require an investigation. The battle isn’t just between us and the Gazans and Hamas. It’s also against ourselves, regarding our values and the image of the Israeli society.”
Watch: The footage in the center of the debate
Meanwhile, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett defended the soldiers during a radio interview on Tuesday morning. “Anyone who was ever in the field knows that to sit in Tel Aviv and in the studios and judge the statements of IDF soldiers, whether they sound nice or not, is not serious,” he told Army Radio. “We need to back the IDF soldiers. As the education minister of the State of Israel, I’m teaching [young people] to protect [Israel] and enlist in combat units and we will back them.”