Israeli Soldier Dismissed From Army Radio Post After Writing Haaretz Op-ed

Niv Vrubel was a producer at the military radio station, and wrote last week against the religious Zionist movement. Army Radio: He violated military regulations.

Army Radio studio.
Alon Ron

Niv Vrubel, a soldier serving at Army Radio as a producer, has been dismissed from the his post at the military radio station after publishing an op-ed piece last week in Haaretz (in Hebrew) entitled “I know the song from the wedding very well.”

In the column, Vrubel said that the song, “Zochreini Na” (“Remember Me”) that featured in the video clip of the wedding attended by right-wing extremists is well known to many in the religious Zionist movement because it is often played at various events, including at weddings, bar mitzvas and in the Bnei Akiva youth movement. The words of the catchy tune are Samson’s dying plea to God for revenge against the Philistines: “Remember me, I pray Thee, and strengthen me, I pray Thee, only this once, Oh God, that I may be this once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” (Judges 16, 28).

The controversial video shows Orthodox youths at a Jerusalem wedding dancing and brandishing guns and knives, stabbing a photo of Ali Dawabsheh, the toddler who was killed in the Duma firebomb attack that killed three members of the Dawabsheh family this past summer.

Vrubel wrote that the song is not the anthem of the right-wing “hilltop youth,” and not that of those who carry out “price tag” attacks against Arabs in the West Bank either. Those singing it are the bourgeoisie, overfed members of the religious Zionist movement from places such as Petah Tikva, Ra’anana and Givat Shmuel. Vrubel noted he was a graduate of a yeshiva.

Vrubel also wrote that Samson should not be called a hero, but was the first suicide terrorist, and those singing the song replace the word “Philistines” with “Palestinians” – and this is the only time they even admit to the existence of Palestinians.

A spokesman for Army Radio said: “The soldier acted in violation of military regulations, and as a result he was removed from the unit.”

The first report of Vrubel’s dismissal from Army Radio came on Wednesday evening from journalist Eran Swissa on Twitter.

Army Radio dismissed Vrubel from its staff after the station was surprised by the publication of the op-ed piece, and last week the IDF decided to discipline Vrubel. Yaron Dekel, the head of Army Radio, made the decision to dismiss him from the radio station, and he will most likely be sent to another job in the army.

IDF regulations allow soldiers to write to a newspaper “on any matter concerning culture, science, health and similar matters (such as solving puzzles and quizzes, questions on health matters or matters of science and technology).” The General Staff regulation involved states that turning to a newspaper is allowed only if it does not have any connection to security and political affairs, and when it does not “criticize any Israeli public body or any group in Israel.”