Following the assault of a left-wing activist by an Israeli soldier in Hebron, the commander of the IDF’s 162nd Armor Division instructed all brigade commanders on Monday to suspend soldiers “who will not conduct themselves morally, as expected of them," until an investigation into the incident in which they were involved comes to a close.
The order comes on the tail of Friday’s incident in the West Bank city of Hebron, in which a soldier from the Givati brigade attacked a left-wing Israeli activist, as another soldier said that “Ben-Gvir is going to bring order, you’ve had it,” in reference to the Kahanist lawmaker who today was named as National Security Minister in the upcoming government.
In addition, Brigadier General Nadav Lotan instructed all brigades to halt their activities in order to conduct procedural reviews with their soldiers. Lotan ordered that the talks should “analyze the sequence of events, refine what is permitted and what is prohibited and clarify what is expected of a fighter in the mission of protecting the citizens of the State of Israel.”
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Lotan referred to the incident in Hebron and called it “a serious incident that is not in line with the values of the IDF.” He added that “all division commanders will show zero tolerance for cases of verbal and physical violence,” and that the recent incidents “are being investigated and will be further investigated in depth.”
In a video of the incident, the Givati soldier is seen tackling the left-wing activist from behind, before punching him in the face while he was on the ground. Following the incident, Israeli police detained three of the activists at the scene – two women and the man who was attacked by the soldier – despite the fact that Israelis are legally allowed to be on the street where the attack occurred. The three activists, including the victim of the attack, were sent to five days of house arrest on Sunday, and were barred from returning to Hebron for two weeks.
Hours after the viral attack on Friday, the IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi made a rare statement denouncing the “incidents of physical or verbal violence” as being “against the values of the IDF and its orders.”
On Sunday, the IDF announced it is placing the soldier involved in the incident under 28 days detention, following a swift investigation that led to a disciplinary hearing. The Military Spokesperson’s Office said the soldier’s behavior “was wrong and doesn't befit what is expected from an IDF soldier.”