When Israeli soldiers admit their past abuses of Palestinians, as they did again this week, the occupation's defenders often ask: Why didn't you report this to the army at the time? A personal illustration of why it is a disingenuous question. I was 37, a new immigrant three and half years in Israel, drafted into the IDF for a month of basic training, and I found myself dumping a truckload of garbage on the edge of a Palestinian woman's vegetable garden. She was screaming in Arabic at me and the other draftee doing the job, and the IDF driver…Read More... | 35 Comments
The IDF Spokesman is caught in a snafu, which paints him either as a racist or an ignoramus. As a rule, junior or mid-level officers and officials, particularly spokesmen, prefer to stay behind the wall of anonymity of their office. They are termed "IDF spokesman" or an "officer in the Southern Command." They are rarely mentioned by name. However, as part of the IDF Spokesman's victory lap after Operation Cast Ballot, in which it tries to convince the natives it won the hard battles in the burning-of-consciousness theater, it exposed some of the people in its New Media unit in…Read More... | 10 Comments
Answering a question from a concerned reader regarding the Torah's position on rape during war, Colonel Eyal Qarim of the Military Rabbinate wrote nine years ago – out of uniform – that 'prohibitions against immorality' are removed during war. Is it permitted for a Jewish soldier to rape a gentile woman during wartime? This question – based on the biblical mitzvah of Eshet Yefat Toar ("a comely woman") – was referred to nine years ago (Hebrew) by Rabbi Eyal Qarim. The questioning party seemed anxious and worried, and wanted to know whether the iron-age mitzvah (religious deed) is applicable to…Read More... | 93 Comments
The new round of violence in Gaza began with the assassination of a Popular Resistance Committees official – and the IDF trotted out an old lie to defend it. As these lines are being written, we are in the third day of yet another round of violence in Gaza, in which at least 17 Gazans have been killed and more than 100 rockets fired into southern Israel. It began – not that you'd know it from the Israeli media – when the IDF assassinated from the air Zuheir Al-Queisi, secretary general of the Popular Resistance Committees. The strike also killed Mahmoud…Read More... | 39 Comments
The Military Rabbinate distributes a photo showing the Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock missing. In response to criticism, the IDF Spokesman lies for them. The Military Rabbinate recently distributed a presentation ahead of Hanukka to soldiers, which contained a picture of the Wailing Wall square all wrapped in holy light. Yet, lo and behold, the picture is bereft of any signs of the mosques on Temple Mount. When Haaretz went knocking (Hebrew; pay attention to the photo), the IDF Spokesman replied as follows: The questions of the reporter are ridiculous and biased, for which we are sorry.…Read More... | 19 Comments
A list of questions to which, I suspect, I will not receive an answer Yesterday I sent this long query to the IDF Spokesman, Radio and Internet Department. I was informed that it was forwarded to the New Media Department. I will publish their reply when, and if, I receive it. Greetings, My name is Yossi Gurvitz, and I write for the Friends of George blog (in Hebrew), and for +972 (in English). Following the events of the last few days, I would appreciate an answer to the following questions: 1. In reply to a question on how the colonel…Read More... | 1 Comment
An IDF Spokesman officer tries to mislead the public on the issue of freedom of assembly in the West Bank “The IDF Spokesman is lying, as usual” – these immortal words were not uttered by yours truly or any other backstabbing, well-poisoning and self-hating leftist, but rather by Major General (Aluf) Uri Sagi. And as a rule, Sagi is right on the money. We had another one today: Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich (you may remember her from that classic piece of reasoning, “They had AK-47s, ergo they came from Gaza”) wrote on Twitter that “Today- legal march for human rights…Read More... | 11 Comments
IDF Spokesman, Major Peter Lerner, expresses a political opinion. Problem: That’s forbidden to soldiers Everyone who has had the misfortune to serve in the IDF – most Israeli Jews are forced to – has heard, time and time again, the slogan that “soldiers are not allowed to deal with politics.” Naturally enough, this was never true in the higher levels of the army: The Chief of Staff is generally a uniformed politician-to-be. When Dan Halutz said, as deputy CoS, that “[the soon-to-be evacuated settlements] Ganim and Qadim are home”, he was making a clear political statement. But, as a rule, the…Read More... | 1 Comment
The military tries to paint the blocking of two unarmed ships as a major military success – and highlights its own faults in the process Our brave troops have raided, at dawn, two unarmed ships, filled with dangerous and enthusiastic peace activists, and have managed to carry out the operation without casualties. The operation actually had a name – Ruah Kalah, “Light Wind” – and was overseen by the commander of the Israeli Navy himself, Admiral Ram Rotberg (Hebrew). Senior brass have told Ynet they were “deeply satisfied” with the results of the operation, though they admit that the success…Read More... | 18 Comments
A reporter exposes an IDF investigation acknowledging that the Eilat attackers came from Sinai, not Gaza; the IDF has nothing to say on the matter Do you remember the Eilat attacks of two months back? How we were told, while the attack was still going on, that the attackers were the Popular Resistance Committees, and that therefore we have to attack Gaza? That such an attack took place, and also killed a child? Do you remember how, a month afterwards, we were quietly told that actually, all of the attackers were Sinai residents, not Gazans? So last weekend, without much…Read More... | 21 Comments
The IDF admits that the Eilat attackers weren’t Gazans, but buries the news Some 34 days ago, a group of terrorists attacked several points on the Israeli-Egyptian border, near Eilat. While the attack was still going on, Security Minister (the term “Defense Minister” does not capture the Soviet/Socialist undertones of the title) Ehud Barak quickly claimed that the responsibility for the attacks rests with the Gazan Popular Resistance Committees. A short time later, the PRC’s leadership was assassinated from the air. Several hours later, however, the official version of events began to crumble (see here). Even though the IDF claimed…Read More... | 24 Comments
Why does Israel still refuse to show us the full footage from the Mavi Marmara? Perhaps because it knows what we’ll see Last weekend saw the release of the Palmer Report (which can be read here – a PDF file) dealing the Flotilla incident and the assault on the Mavi Marmara last year. To make a simplistic summary, the report reaches two conclusions: That Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip is legal, which means is entitled (in fact, required) to enforce it; and that the assault on the Mavi Marmara was wild and lacked proportion. The Israeli government, naturally,…Read More... | 23 Comments
Three Palestinians were detained by IDF gunmen for the crime of picking endangered thistles. Settler riots continue per schedule Last Thursday, IDF gunmen detained three Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, on suspicion of picking an endangered plant, Gundelia tournefortiii. They handcuffed one of the Palestinians, and kept the detainees for about three hours, standing outside in the sun. One of them, aged over 60, felt ill and, after an intervention by the women of Machsom Watch, received medical treatment. The IDF Spokesman did not dispute the facts (Hebrew). Gundelia tournefortii is a thistle, the use of which is popular in…Read More... | 8 Comments
OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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