Wednesday, January 23, 2019 -
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Non-stop clicks

This past week a video of IDF soldiers on duty in an Arab village went viral.

In the unfortunate video, you see teens provoking the Israel Defense Forces soldiers. Repeatedly, the soldiers are pushed, slapped, screamed at and kicked.

In such a self-defense situation, one never knows what might come next, be it a slung rock, or a Molotov cocktail, both potentially deadly.

It sounds absurd that the military personnel are the ones who are in danger in such a situation, and the unarmed teens are the aggressors, but that is precisely the reality of the situation.

The overwhelming majority of people I was exposed to responded to this video cringing with shame. In fact, some posted it with great reluctance, only as a way to highlight some of the problems and dilemmas that soldiers in the IDF face.

Why were people cringing? And why might it highlight an IDF soldier’s conundrum?

Because of the soldiers’ response. Or, more precisely, the astonishing lack of response on the part of the IDF soldiers.

You see them absorb the abuse with the indifference and even physical limpness of a rag doll.

Zero response. Zero.

Many were enraged, and are calling on the IDF to reinstate different protocol for soldiers who find themselves in this situation, allowing them, even requiring them, to defend themselves when the situation warrants it.

Of course, some have heralded these IDF soldiers for their valiant restraint.

Psychologically, one might say their response was even brilliant. The Palestinian teens’ growing frustration at the lack of response from the soldiers is palpable.

Certainly the wisdom of the IDF soldiers lack of response can be debated.

What stuck me, however, was the fact that these teens were comfortable enough to not only invade the personal space of the IDF soldiers, Uzi guns in hand, but were secure enough to make contact and hit them!

Can you imagine? Think of an American randomly invading a security personnel’s space inappropriately, let alone daring to raise a hand at them?

If this is not a twisted testament to the restraint of the IDF and the depth of the utter safety and security the Palestinians do in fact feel in the presence of the patrolling IDF, I don’t what is.

Personally, I would be shaking just to be in such close proximity to someone with a weapon.

I suppose one can argue that one of the teen’s lack of fear stems from the disturbing education to “martyr” oneself and the totally unnatural lack of regard for mortality, but at the young age of 17, for most people the primal animal instinct to live is still throbbing.

After viewing the video multiple times, I do believe the girl knew she was not in harm’s way.

It seemed pretty clear that the Palestinians in this village of Nebi Salach know they can rely on the restraint of the IDF.

Granted, the hitting of a soldier does not, G-d forbid, warrant his using a gun to kill. But like so many responded, where was the tear gas? There’s a non-fatal way of setting an immediate boundary about unacceptable aggression.

Another aspect of the video which was so revealing and damning was the education to hate. Ultimately, this is a very sad video to watch. You witness educating Palestinians children to hate, in the making.

Narrating the video is a more calm, mature grown up voice of a woman. She is clearly validating and encouraging these teens’ behavior.

To be sure, for many in the Israeli media scene, this type of video is not a first.

One of the teen girls in this video is from the Tamimi family of the Nebi Salach village. Sadly, ever since she has been a little girl she has been starring in videos, screaming or hitting IDF soldiers. Her mother is a Dutch woman who married a Palestinian Arab. The girl has sadly been used ever since she is a little girl. She boils over in hate.

Word is, over the years, the Tamimi home has been host to various anarchists, NGOs, media, and even Israeli organizations such as B’Tselem and Breaking The Silence.

Over the years there have been many videos, such as this one, starring this Tamimi daughter (I don’t know her first name). In one that I noticed, as you see her as the little girl provoking IDF soldiers, the weird thing is that you hear non-stop clicks of a camera. You can almost see the invisible European photojournalists. It just feels like all these photojournalists are just waiting for the breaking moment when they can snap a picture of an IDF soldier being caught red-handed, so to speak, acting aggressively toward a Palestinian child, erroneously painting the IDF with the brush of aggression; of course, the defensive context obviously unknown from a cold snapshot in time.

Although this video exposed the complexity of the situation the IDF soldiers are continuously facing, overwhelmingly, it was just sad.

Copyright © 2017 by the Intermountain Jewish News

Tehilla R. Goldberg

IJN columnist | View from Central Park

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