Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday responded for the first time to a scandal over internet footage of an Israeli soldier humiliating a Palestinian prisoner, calling it an embarrassment to the army and the country.
There was outrage last week over a video uploaded to YouTube showing an Israel Defense Forces soldier wriggling in a belly dance beside a bound and handcuffed Palestinian woman, to the cheers of his comrades.
"These actions and videos are an embarrassment to the IDF and to the State of Israel," Netanyahu said.
The prime minister acknowledged that a spate of similar incidents over the past year was harming Israel's image abroad.
"They cause us heavy damage internationally," he said. "The IDF is one of the most moral armies in the world and treats prisoners and detainees with honor. Humiliating [them] is not the way of the State of Israel and not the way of the Jewish people."
The army ordered an internal investigation after a Channel 10 television program broadcast the clip.
In August, former soldier Eden Abergil sparked controversy by posting pictures of herself beside a bound and blindfold Palestinian prisoner on her Facebook page, labeled "IDF – the best time of my life".
Days later, three troops were arrested while photographing themselves alongside cuffed and blindfold Palestinian detainees using their cellphones.
Other soldiers faced disciplinary action for uploading a video of themselves halting during a patrol in the West Bank to perform a choreographed pop dance.
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