Subscribe to Print Edition | Wed., July 22, 2009 Av 1, 5769 | | Israel Time: 04:04 (EST+7)
Haaretz israel news English
Haaretz Toolbar
Defense Jewish World Opinion National
Print Edition
Car Rental
Books Haaretz Magazine Business Real Estate Maccabiah Travel Week's End Anglo File
Share |
Last update - 00:00 22/06/2004
IDF questions reservists who organized Hebron photo exhibit
By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel Defense Forces Military Police on Wednesday interrogated three reserve soldiers who had organized a Tel Aviv photo exhibit documenting their compulsory military service in Hebron, on suspicion they had abused Palestinians, looted and destroyed property.

Another IDF soldier who helped organize the "Breaking the Silence" exhibition depicting photographs and videotaped accounts of troops serving in Hebron was also called in for questioning at a later date.

The three former Nahal Brigade infantry soldiers, Jonathan Boimfeld, Micha Kurtz and Yehuda Shaul were questioned for more than six hours. Boimfeld told Haaretz that the three thought they were being called in to submit evidence but were instead informed that they themselves were suspects.

According to Boimfeld, the IDF didn't launch the probe in order to reform the practice of troops in Hebron, but rather to prevent other soldiers from revealing the realities of their service. The military police also wanted to show that the affair is being handled, the three reported.

Boimfeld said interrogators asked whether they had ever opened fire illegally or whether they had ever thrown hand grenades. They were also asked to name soldiers who spoke anonymously in the videotaped accounts.

"We refused to give their names and explained that our sources are kept anonymous, as they are in journalism. Other than that were cooperative and recounted the incidents we have been talking about for the past three weeks," they said.

Military Police on Tuesday raided the Breaking the Silence exhibit of photographs and confiscated a folder containing the clips of articles about the exhibit and a videotape with statements made by some 70 soldiers about their experiences in the West Bank city.

The army said the raid was meant to uncover evidence of violence and vandalism done to Palestinians and their property. The reservists who organized the show said the army was trying to intimidate and silence those soldiers who gave evidence about brutality in Hebron and to silence any other soldiers who planned to give evidence about what they have seen take place in that city.

Kurtz said Tuesday: "We anticipated that the army would send the chief education officer or maybe even the Judge Advocate General to learn from the soldiers' evidence, because our main message was that every soldier age 18 is going to encounter such situations.

"But instead, they sent the MPs," said Kurtz. "They are trying to frighten us and other soldiers who have expressed readiness to take part in the project," he said, accusing the army of preferring to repress criticism rather than learn from the evidence and testimony that was part of the exhibit.

"The MPs, for example, didn't take the 60 sets of car keys that were illegally confiscated from Palestinians by soldiers in Hebron," he said, adding, "in fact, the IDF continues to deny the fact those keys were taken in the first place."

The IDF Spokeswoman's office explained Tuesday that "The IDF educates its soldiers to behave according to moral standards in complex situations that include very difficult moral dilemmas. In the wake of reports quoting the participants in the exhibit about alleged crimes of violence and damage to property against Palestinians, the Judge Advocate General ordered a Military Police probe of the complaints. The MPs gave the exhibit's organizers a court order requiring them to hand over all the material that could help the inquiry and a summons to provide evidence and testimony to the investigators."

The exhibit opened this month at the Tel Aviv Geographic Film School. It includes photographs taken by soldiers who served in Hebron whether as reservists or as conscripts. Many of the photographs were hung anonymously, without naming the photographer. The soldiers gave their images to photographer Miki Kratzman, who curated the show. Sixty of the 90 photos record aspects of the conflict with the Palestinians and settlers, and 30 depict the soldiers in their daily routines.

Next week, the exhibit will go up at the Knesset.
PROMOTION: Mamilla Hotel
Bookmark to  
Private Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's son joins the IDF - with bodyguard in tow
Real estate inequality
Contrary to Netanyahu's claim, Arabs can't buy apartments anywhere in Jerusalem
Special Offers
hotel Jerusalem
David Citadel Hotel, come stay at the finest of Jerusalem hotels.
IDF insignia,Uniforms, Paladium Boots Watches, Israel Army T-shirts & Collectibles
Dead Sea Skin Care
Quality cosmetics from the Dead Sea. Coupon code HAARETZ for 12% off!
Eldan Rent a Car
Israel's leading car rental company offers you a 20% discount on online reservations
Junk a car - get free towing nationwide and a tax-deductible receipt
 Haaretz Hot Topics
Iran elections
Obama speech in Cairo
The Pope in the Holy Land
Durban II conference
Israel vs. Hamas
More Headlines
02:32 Police set up special unit ahead of mass outpost evacuation
02:50 Despite tensions, U.S., Israel unite to track uranium to Iran
03:31 Meshal: Hamas won't stand in the way of PA-Israel deal
22:20 Charges toughened against IDF officer in shooting of bound Palestinian
02:11 The IDF price tag
20:49 WATCH: New Israeli vaccine could save bees
03:41 The Arab immigration wave
00:15 WATCH: Daily news round-up from Israel
03:52 Yisrael Beiteinu seeking radical reform of conversion courts
04:01 Rogue modesty patrols target Netivot merchants sparking tension
17:45 Palestinians: Settlers cut down 40 olive trees in fresh West Bank rampage
19:07 Dead Sea advances to final in 'Seven Natural Wonders of the World' contest
Home | TV | Print Edition | Diplomacy | Opinion | Arts & Leisure | Sports | Jewish World | Site rules |
| Israel 2009 election results | Makom: Engaging on Israel
| Search engine marketing, the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel, offers real-time breaking news, opinions and analysis from Israel and the Middle East. provides extensive and in-depth coverage of Israel, the Jewish World and the Middle East, including defense, diplomacy, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the peace process, Israeli politics, Jerusalem affairs, international relations, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli business world and Jewish life in Israel and the Diaspora.
© Copyright  Haaretz. All rights reserved