Israeli Soldier Jailed for Pointing Loaded Gun at Arab Passerby in Jerusalem

The soldier from an ultra-Orthodox Nahal unit was off duty and not in uniform when he cocked his weapon and pointed it at the civilian in the Old City, with no threat to his life.

Illustrative: Netzah Yehuda soldiers checking Palestinians for weapons at a roadblock near Jenin.
Gil Cohen Magen

A soldier from an ultra-Orthodox Israeli army unit received a 17-day sentence on Sunday after he cocked his rifle and pointed it at an Arab civilian in Jerusalem's Old City, while off duty and not in uniform.

The IDF spokesperson's office said that his gun had been loaded and ready to fire he cocked it and pointed it at an Arab passerby. Israeli police officers detained the soldier, who told them he had not been threatened.

The soldier faced court martial by the commander of the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Uri Levy, who punished him for an illegal use of his weapon.

"The gun was loaded and he cocked the weapon without any need for doing so and without his life being threatened," the IDF statement said.

The incident is only the last in a series of violent incidents involving soldiers of the same Kfir Brigade, over the past two months. Two weeks ago two Kfir soldiers were court martialed for confiscating and burning a Palestinian flag. One of them, the squad commander, was relieved of his command and received a 20-day sentence. The other was grounded to base for 28 days. In early April, a platoon commander and an enlisted man from the brigade's Netzah Yehuda Battalion were arrested in their base in the West Bank. Elor Azaria, the soldier who shot a wounded and prone Palestinian to death in Hebron, also serves in the Kfir Brigade.

In February, five Netzah Yehuda soldiers were indicted for abusing Palestinian detainees. One was demoted and jailed for nine months, and another received a seven-month sentence in a plea bargain. In one of the abuse cases, soldiers beat a Palestinian detainee in the head and gave him electric shocks with a medical instrument