IDF dismisses reservist soldier who incited mutiny via viral video

Israeli military opened a criminal probe into the incident as ‘a serious violation of IDF orders and IDF values’


The Israeli military has dismissed a reservist soldier after he incited a rebellion on a video posted to social media.

An unknown soldier created a video which went viral in which he called on troops to not obey orders to hand over control of Gaza to any Palestinian or Arab entity.

The video of the call to mutiny was circulated widely on social media in Israel, with the reservist being quickly identified and dismissed from duty following an interrogation on Sunday by the Military Police.

According to the Israeli military, the interrogation into the soldier was on suspicion of mutiny, incitement to mutiny, not following orders, and other offences. Findings of an investigation which has now been opened will be presented to the Military Advocate General for review.

The soldier in the video, fully clad in gear, stood in a ruined building with the name “Kahane” graffitied on the wall behind him, potentially a reference to far-right Jewish extremist and convicted terrorist Meir Kahane, who among other things called for the expulsion of Arabs from Israel.

The two-and-a-half-minute clip was originally thought to have been filmed in Gaza but was later reported to have in fact been filmed inside Israel. The masked soldier begins by saying the video is addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We reservist soldiers do not intend to hand the keys [to Gaza] over to any Palestinian authority,” the soldier said. “We do not intend to give the keys to any entity, Hamas, Fatah, or any other Arab entity. Reservist soldiers are behind you, and we want to win.”

The soldier also addressed Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, warning him that he “can’t win the war. Quit. You can’t win this war. You can’t command us.”

Earlier this month, Gallant called on Netanyahu to make “tough decisions” about what a post-Hamas Gaza may look like, and rejecting the idea that the IDF would take responsibility for civil matters in the enclave.

Netanyahu responded by repeating his objection to allowing the Palestinian Authority to govern. “We will not replace Hamas-stan with Fatah-stan,” he said.

The viral video was reposted by some far-right figures in Israel including Yair Netanyahu, the prime minister’s son.

Israel’s Channel 12 news reported that the soldier, who after being identified was found to have images on his social media that indicated he did serve in Gaza previously, and had multiple run-ins with the law in the past.

News of the reservist’s dismissal came just a day after the IDF announced it was opening a criminal probe into the video, saying the behaviour displayed “is a serious violation of IDF orders and IDF values.”

It is not clear why the soldier’s past did not raise red flags ahead of his reservist duty.

On the heels of the video’s publication, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, who himself has expressed dissatisfaction with a lack of a day-after-strategy in Gaza, ordered all commands to immediately speak with subordinates of all ranks regarding the video.

The lack of a clearly defined strategy for post-Hamas Gaza is continuing to fracture Israeli politics, with Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet, recently threatening to leave the country’s wartime government unless Netanyahu commits to a plan to address the future governance of Gaza.

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