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Last update - 11:26 01/04/2009
IDF raps soldiers for images of dead Palestinian babies on t-shirts
By Uri Blau, Haaretz Correspondent

The IDF's chief education officer Brig. Gen. Eli Shermeister issued a letter to a number of military units Tuesday, commenting on T-shirts printed by soldiers, as exposed by Haaretz two weeks ago. Haaretz found that dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's grave, a child in the crosshairs of a sniper's rifle and blown-up mosques are just a few of the images with which IDF soldiers decided to mark their graduation from a training course or tour of duty.

Shermeister's letter described some of the shirts depicted in the Haaretz story, and included pictures published in the feature. The chief education officer called on commanders to "increase vigilance and rule out any such phenomena, which stem from group culture and might affect it."

The Haaretz inquiry brought several examples of such prints: An infantry snipers' T-shirt with the writing "better use Durex" running alongside a dead Palestinian child, a weeping mother and a teddy bear; another sniper course shirt showing an aim taken at the belly of a pregnant woman, with the slogan "One shot, two kills;" a T-shirt depicting a Palestinian baby becoming an angry youth and then an armed man, with the slogan "no matter how it starts, we'll end it;" a shirt from the Haruv battalion with the picture of a Samurai and the caption "we won't chill before we verify the kill," and many more.
Some of the captions and images emphasize actions the army vigorously denies, such as coups de grace or deliberate attacks on women, children and religious sites.

Commenting on the inquiry at the time, the IDF spokesperson's office said that "military orders do not refer to civilian clothing, including shirts printed at the end of various training courses. The shirts are printed at the personal initiative of the soldiers, and are not army property," the statement read.

However, Shermeister's letter, titled "The boundaries of humor," appears to indicate that the chief education officer disagrees. "Some would say the printing of the shirts is a local matter, done at the personal initiative and often at the private expense of the soldiers with the aim of bonding through humor," he writes. "[However,] printing shirts for IDF soldiers, even if not initiated by the commander, is not a private action. It is an action carried out in the context of military service and should match the values of the IDF."

"We are not exempt from this duty even when dealing with writings on civilian shirts, organized independently by the soldiers. Even humor, which is an important instrument of coping with the stress and exhaustion of military service, has its boundaries. We do not teach hatred for our enemy, and we must not mock or belittle the lives of a pregnant woman or a small child," Shermeister said.

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  • Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009
  • IDF: Soldiers' anti-Palestinian T-Shirts are 'tasteless'
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      1.   Perhaps there is hope. 05:17  |  Magnus K. 01/04/09
      2.   Olmert government provocation to make people hate Jews 05:29  |  Alan 01/04/09
      3.   Are they "BROWN SHIRTS"! 05:35  |  jim the mechanic 01/04/09
      4.   It took a very long time for Shermeister to react at all... 07:39  |  Esther 01/04/09
      5.   I wonder if Germans Wore Similar T-Shirts 10:04  |  Tupac 01/04/09
      6. should be ashamed by what happened, not 10:33  |  K.A. 01/04/09
      7.   Are women & children your enemies? 10:44  |  Brendan Holleran 01/04/09
      8.   What about Palestinian T-shirts? 10:45  |  Hastaroth 01/04/09
      9.   Shutting the stable door after the Horse has bolted 10:55  |  Chris Linthwaite 01/04/09
      10.   IDF values on show 11:08  |  Stephen 01/04/09
      11.   Hastaroth 12:15  |  Anne 01/04/09
      12.   #7 Hastaroth 12:21  |  Matty Groves 01/04/09
      13.   The beginning of the end 12:40  |  JL 01/04/09
      14.   Don`t trash Shermeiter so quickly, Estther 12:41  |  Zev 01/04/09
      15.   Stephan 9 12:47  |  Halper 01/04/09
      16.   Tupac #4 12:50  |  Mickey 01/04/09
      17.   #2: No "left-o-commies" order the T-shirts, soldiers did. 13:00  |  Andre 01/04/09
      18.   Show us the pictures please 13:07  |  JO 01/04/09
      19.   So this is the "most moral army in the world" 13:17  |  vernon marriott 01/04/09
      20.   TUPAC SOME wearing despicable Tshirts is NOT the same as OFFICIAL 13:21  |  PETER SM 01/04/09
      21.   IDF raps soldiers? understatement !! 13:35  |  HAL 01/04/09
      22.   RE 6 14:11  |  Shu 01/04/09
      23.   Deleted by Moderator #8,9,4 14:26  |  The Mik 01/04/09
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      25.   RE 8: The IDF Runs Away?!?!?! 15:09  |  William Vaughan 01/04/09
      26.   Sadly 15:10  |  English Resident 01/04/09
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      38.   William Vaughan - why hide behind children? 17:30  |  Don 01/04/09
      39.   Linthwaite proves who he is 17:51  |  judith 01/04/09
      40.   Judith - mostly correct, but not entirely 18:01  |  Don 01/04/09
      41.   #23 The Mik of Montreal 18:10  |  Chris Linthwaite 01/04/09
      42.   #39 Judith under the rules of war 18:17  |  Chris Linthwaite 01/04/09
      43.   Linthwaite 18:28  |  judith 01/04/09
      44.   Israeli soldiers are a disgrace to good men in uniform 18:31  |  Dutch 01/04/09
      45.   april fool 19:03  |  x 01/04/09
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      47.   Chris Linthwaite (#41) 19:30  |  Gil 01/04/09
      48.   Chris Linthwaite (#41) 19:34  |  Gil 01/04/09
      49.   joke 20:31  |  t 01/04/09
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