Soldiers expressed regret for the photograph during IDF ceremony; investigation points to a group of settlers, rather than the soldiers, as being behind the act.
GOC Northern Command Gadi Eizenkot decided Thursday to pardon five IDF soldiers after they were sentenced to 20 days in jail for photographing themselves wearing t-shirts that read “The Golani Brigade does not evict Jews.”
According to Army Radio, the decision to pardon the soldiers of the Golani Brigade was made after they had expressed regret and admitted that they “understood that the incident should have never taken place to begin with.”
Furthermore, it was reported that the leniency with which the case was handled was due to the fact that a group of settlers, rather than the soldiers, were behind the incident.
An investigation indicated that the ones responsible are a family in Alon Shvut of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, as well as a former resident of Homesh (a settlement that was demolished as part of the 2005 disengagement plan from the Gaza Strip and the Northern West Bank).
According to the investigation, the family met with the soldiers and passed out t-shirts that carried the Golani symbol on the front and a caption on the back of the shirt that read “Golani fights the enemy and does not evict Jews.”
While the soldiers were busy showing off their Golani emblem for a front side photograph, Miri Tzachi, a Jerusalem resident and known settler photographer was shooting them from their backside. Tzachi is known for having previously photographed two soldiers waving a pro-settler banner at the Western Wall during their swearing-in ceremony in 2009.
The investigation further revealed that the soldiers were under the impression that the shirts were donated anonymously, and that the photographs were being taken for the sole purpose of sending them to the donor. Most of the soldiers believed what they were told and were unaware that the photograph would be sent out to several media outlets.