Soldiers to Face Punishment for YouTube Video of Hebron Boogie

Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer
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Anshel Pfeffer
Anshel Pfeffer

Soldiers from the Nahal Brigade are expected to be disciplined for posting a video clip on the YouTube website showing them dancing on a deserted Hebron Street to the sound of an American pop song, while apparently on patrol.

Screen grabs from a video clip uploaded to YouTube in May of IDF soldiers performing a choreographed routine while on patrol in Hebron. The clip was subsequently removed from the site.

The clip, posted over the weekend, shows a six-man patrol from the Hod platoon of the 50th battalion positioned in Hebron, walking along a Palestinian street under IDF control in the city, in full battle gear. In the midst of the patrol, the soldiers suddenly break into a one-minute dance, to the song of American singer Kesha, "Tik Tok." The coordinated performance appears to indicate the soldiers rehearsed the dance for some time.

In recent years a growing number of military units, mainly American and British ones positioned in Iraq and Afghanistan, began producing cover versions of popular pop songs and posting them online. However, such clips are normally shot on base, rather than during military operations.

The clip received many viewings and was soon reposted on blogs. Commanders in Nahal were informed of its existence on Sunday, and promptly began investigating its origin. Yesterday morning the original clip was removed, apparently by the author intimidated by the commanders' response, but copies of it were soon reposted elsewhere.

Reactions from viewers have been mixed, with some praising the performance and others voicing disdain for the sight of soldiers dancing in an occupied Palestinian street.

YouTube contains hundreds of videos filmed by combat troops. In recent months, the IDF issued orders prohibiting soldiers from posting films and pictures containing operational details on the Internet. Last year, a special information security unit was set up in the IDF's intelligence branch, tasked with browsing websites like Facebook and YouTube and tracing soldiers inadvertently revealing classified information or otherwise disobeying orders.

"The situation in Hebron now is pretty calm, and when you don't have any incidents, soldiers get bored and this is what they do," an officer from the Central Command told Haaretz yesterday.

The publication of the clip was met with embarassment in the Nahal, which has a reputation of being one of the more disciplined brigades in the IDF. The soldiers involved are expected to be punished for inappropriate conduct during a military operation. "This was a joke by a few soldiers and the matter was relayed to their commanders," the IDF spokesman said.

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