Mofaz (R) with IDF Chief of Staff Benny Ganz
Mofaz (R) with IDF Chief of Staff Benny GanzFlash 90

Former Defense Minister, MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), has weighed into the storm surrounding "David the Nahlawi", the Nahal Brigade soldier disciplined after a confrontation with Arab youths in Hevron last week.

Mofaz, who also served in the past as IDF Chief of Staff, said he stood behind the soldier, and said that the situation for IDF soldiers in the field had become "impossible".

He said the footage of the incident showed he had acted in accordance with the IDF's rules of engagement - having cocked his rifle after feeling his life was potentially in danger.

"'Mortal danger' is a subjective evaluation," Mofaz pointed out. "In one moment he could have drawn a knife and the situation could deteriorate."

"It is important to note that the film was taken from the Palestinian perspective. The IDF investigate will soon be complete - we still don't know how many Palestinian were around him and what they were holding in the their hands," he added.

As it was at least one of the Arab youths involved in the confrontation can clearly be seen approaching the soldier from behind with a pair of brass knuckles, moments before he cocks his rifle.

On Friday the growing campaign for "David the Nahlawi" picked up steam, with hundreds of protesters taking to the street of Tel Aviv to show their support for the soldier. 

The IDF, meanwhile, has backtracked from initial criticisms of the incident caught on camera, and claimed that his impending punishment stemmed from an unrelated argument he had with his commanding officers.

"Nahlawi" is a Hebrew slang term for soldiers serving in the Nahal infantry unit.