New IDF "Dancing Soldier" Clip Ignites Uproar

Published: October 8th 2010
in News » Israel

IDF soldier dancing around detained Palestinian woman.
Pic: screenshot

A video recently uploaded to YouTube shows an Israel Defense Forces soldier jumping around and wriggling in a belly-dance beside a blindfolded Palestinian female terrorist to oriental tunes and the cheers of his fellow friends who where documenting the incident. The disgraceful, ignorant and inappropriate clip has become the talk of the day and has caused the IDF's internal investigation department to begin an immediate investigation. The video is a slap in the face to what the IDF stands for and is totally uncalled for in days when Israel struggles with public opinions. Here is a further look at what is the 'exception and not the rule'.


The incident took place in 2007, as 25-year-old Ekhsan Dibabse, the woman pictured in the video, waited at a detention center after being arrested on suspicion of membership in the Islamic Jihad terrorist group (she has since then served 22 months in prison). The affair came to light after someone uploaded the video of the soldier dancing around Dibabse to YouTube. After the video was made public, Dibabse told media that she felt "humiliated" and "powerless" during the incident, despite the fact that she did not know what was happening at the time. "I heard music and soldiers laughing, I felt like I was being photographed," she said.


In addition, she also accused another one of the soldiers of hitting her when she attempted to remove the blindfold. Dibabse said she plans to file suit against the soldier. In the meantime, she has filed a complaint with the left-wing Committee Against Torture. The miserable incident was condemned by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the IDF as well. Netanyahu said, "These types of activities and videos bring shame to the IDF and to the state of Israel, and cause heavy damage to our international image."


"The IDF is one of the most moral armies on earth, and treats prisoners with dignity. The degradation of prisoners and detainees is not the way of the State of Israel, or of the Jewish people," he added.


IDF spokesmen reported that the army is investigating the incident. "The IDF condemns behaviour of the type seen in these videos, and has acted and will continue to act to put an end to it, through the briefings given to soldiers, the instructions given to their commanders, the IDF code, and punishment when necessary," they stated. "These videos represent the exception, and not the rule."


Sadly, this is not the first time a group of IDF soldiers have dishonoured the institution. Over the last few years, a number of soldiers have faced investigations and penalties for documenting themselves performing questionable acts in front of Palestinian prisoners or while on patrol. In August, former soldier Eden Abergil raised controversy by posting pictures of herself beside a bound and blindfolded Palestinian prisoner on her Facebook page. Only days later, three IDF soldiers were arrested taking photographs of themselves alongside cuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainees using their cell phones.


Photographs uploaded by Abergil and labeled "IDF – the best time of my life" depicted her smiling next to Palestinian prisoners with their hands bound and their eyes covered. A comment attached to one of the photos of the soldier smiling in front of two blindfold men, posted by one of Abergil's friends, read "that looks really sexy for you.” Abergil's response said: "I wonder if he is on Facebook too – I'll have to tag him in the photo."


There was also the video "Battalion 50 Rock the Hebron Casbah" released this year. The controversial video shows six dancing Nahal Brigade soldiers, armed and wearing bulletproof vests, patrolling as a Muslim call to prayer is heard.


In a turn of events, the currently unknown, or undisclosed, former soldier who danced next to the woman has been threatened by Hamas. The terrorist group threatened to kidnap him.


"Many Palestinian youth in the West Bank and in Gaza are trying to find the soldier's name and address, in order to kidnap him and join him with Gilad Shalit," Hamas announced.


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