Controversial clip of Israeli pilot refusing to rescue dying pro-reform soldier goes viral

The IDF on Thursday condemned a video shared by ministers that showed Air Force pilots refusing to aid IDF ground troops over their support of the judicial reform.

The footage portrays a military personnel urgently communicating through a radio, “Immediate air support required,” and receiving a query from a pilot, “Are you for or against the reform?”

The conclusion of the video features the dying soldier, post-detonation, grounded and articulating, “Comrades, from both sides, political issues should be kept out of the military.” The footage then segues into a recording of the oath-taking ceremony of fresh recruits to the IDF.

Ynet cited the producer, Daniel Edri, as saying:

“I saw what was happening in the military, in politics, without particular reference to one side or the other. I myself am an active reservist, in air defense. No party funded the video, it was made solely by me. I wanted to create unity and not strife, to unite society and stop the fratricidal war, to stop this harmful political discourse. I actually chose to show that the same soldier, me, is calling the commander in the field. I wanted to show that even on land and in the air the discourse is inside us and kills us. You see my direct appeal after the explosion. I say my brothers – right and left. The political discourse should be left outside the army.”

IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari slammed the video for creating “internal divisions in the military.”

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“Unity in the IDF is a supreme value. We completely reject all statements against the commanders and soldiers in regular and reserve service in the Air Force. These are the best soldiers and commanders in the IDF, who risk their lives night after night,” Hagari said.

The video was shared on Twitter by both Culture Minister Miki Zohar and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.

Zohar deleted the post after the IDF’s condemnation, saying that it “aimed to convey a message of unity in a thought-provoking way” and spread the “message that we are brothers.”

“Unfortunately, a media organization decided to take it out of context and presented it as if it was offending one or another unit. Of course, that wasn’t the goal so I deleted it,” added Zohar.

Ben-Gvir refused to delete the video, stating that it “illustrates well the danger of refusal.”

“The video in question illustrates the tangible damage that exists in the attempt of a tiny minority to who refuse and incite refusal,” added the minister. “Those who refuse to show up to call-ups against the background of the reform, whether they are from the Air Force or from another force, endanger the security of the citizens of Israel.”

A few hundred reservists, mostly from the air force, have threatened to refuse to serve due to the ongoing judicial reform legislation.

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The Israeli military may arrest reservists for refusing to answer the call of duty, Army Radio reported on Thursday.

Also on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the reservists for acting against the law and endangering all Israeli citizens in a prime time speech defending the first judicial reform bill that will be voted on next week.

Netanyahu characterized the reservists’ refusal as a “very dangerous phenomenon” for which there would be “zero tolerance.”

“In the past, many citizens objected to the Oslo Accords, the disengagement from Gush Katif [to] a government that was established by not adhering to promises … and no one threatened to refuse service,” he said, adding that “every responsible citizen must object to this.”