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Hareidi Soldiers Jailed Over Call to Eliminate Terrorists

Four combat soldiers sentenced to ten days over taking part in massive internet protest; Tzipi Livni starts 'hotline' for complaints.
By Orli Harari, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 7/3/2014, 5:07 PM

IDF Nahal Hareidi (illustration)
IDF Nahal Hareidi (illustration)
Flash 90

Four IDF combat soldiers were sent to jail on Thursday morning for posting Facebook pictures of themselves with a written message calling to eliminate terrorists, as part of a massive protest by hundreds of soldiers since the bodies of the three teens were found on Monday.

The soldiers, who were all members of the Netzah Yehuda (Nahal Hareidi) Battalion of the Kfir Brigade, were judged and sentenced by the battalion's deputy commander to ten days of detention for a "violation of discipline."

Two of the four posted a picture of themselves standing behind a sheet of paper with a message that said "Bibi, let us eliminate the terrorists," using the nickname for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

The IDF decided on Wednesday to use a "strong arm" against punishing soldiers calling for revenge against the terrorists who kidnapped and murdered the three Israeli teens on June 12.

However, Attorney Adi Keidar of the Honenu legal aid association, who represents some of the soldiers, argued "the military system is trying to deal with an internet protest through the wrong incident, and decided to settle accounts with the wrong soldiers."

"The things these soldiers posted don't constitute any crime. These are good, exemplary soldiers. We call on the IDF leadership to immediately cancel the legal process against them and to return them to operational duty as soon as possible," said Keidar.

Livni's "hotline"

The detention comes as Justice Minister Tzipi Livni decided to establish a "hotline" at the Justice Ministry for public complaints about "incitement to racism" after the calls for revenge against the terrorists. The Ministry on Wednesday launched a criminal investigation against inciteful statements on the social networks.

"Inciteful words and calls to revenge are not the path of Zionist and not the path of the state of Israel, which is a law abiding state," stated Livni according to Yedioth Aharonoth.

However, Honenu director Shmuel (Zangi) Meidad criticized the crackdown while addressing the detention of the soldiers.

"The state of Israel is sending its soldiers to the front, but doesn't understand or doesn't want to understand their condition, and therefore judges and punishes them, and doesn't back them. It does this to ingratiate itself and to look good in the eyes of hostile foreign elements, some of which are outright anti-Semitic, and does all this at the expense of its soldiers," remarked Meidad.

The Honenu director added "this situation is a clear and present danger, it hinders our position against the enemy, and it must be changed immediately."