Bennett Backs Israeli Soldier: ‘I Would Have Done the Same Thing’
Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett stood by Israel Defense Forces soldier “David from Nahal,” who was shown on video cocking his gun after being taunted by Arabs as a lone soldier in Hebron. Bennett said on Facebook on Thursday, “I would have done the same thing.”
“I would have acted like David the warrior from the Nahal Brigade,” Bennett wrote. “I watched a video circulated by left-wing groups, which displays a Nahal Infantry soldier acting against a hostile Arab organization, and he cocked his weapon.”
“He did the right thing.”
Clips of the video went viral in Israel, along with online shows of support for the soldier and screenshots of one of his assailants wearing brass knuckles.
“Thousands of Israeli soldiers posted photos online holding signs in Hebrew which read, ‘I am also with David of the Nahal Brigade.’ Most had their faces covered to avoid punishment by their commanders,” The Blaze reported on Thursday as the online action caught world attention.
“What you see in the video is very simple,” Bennett said. “They used violence against him. He was alone, surrounded by a number of violent and provocative Arabs. He did not open fire. He took reasonable steps to defend himself and those around him and brought the incident to an end.”
Bennett also raised questions about the cameramen:
“Two cameras were present during the incident, and this is not a coincidence. The extreme Left wing survives on the slandering of IDF fighters. This should be denounced across the political spectrum. If the camera was not present there would be no incident.”
Bennett spoke about the IDF and his experience in combat:
“The state of Israel sends IDF soldiers to defend us,” Bennett said. “The soldiers are present at the front endangering their lives. They are not in the media studios. They face guns, rocks and hostile cameras.”
“I experienced similar situations in Kalandiya, Kabatiya, Ramallah and Jenin. This is not a reality television show. This is a very complex and dangerous reality that IDF fighters deal with on a daily basis.”
“When a lone soldier is standing in front of a group of hostile and violet Arabs, he must exercise discretion, he must take the appropriate steps, and we need to back him up afterwards. It is important that every IDF soldier know that he should continue to protect himself and us, and that the nation is behind him.”
Bennett said IDF commanders told him “that the soldier was tried for other acts that are completely unrelated to the event in question, and I do not intend to interfere with that.”
He was referring to the confusion that fueled part of the public outrage over the video, as a result of mistaken reports that the incident had led David to being sentenced to 20 days in a military prison.
The latest reports indicate that the soldier was already being investigated for two incidents of unruly behavior towards superior officers, unrelated to the incident recorded on the video that was published on Sunday.