Double standard? Right-wing IDF officer demoted, sentenced to jail for protesting in uniform

Left-wing protesters have leveraged their status as reservists for political clout and dressed in military-like outfits, but the IDF cracks down on right-wing officer who attended pro-government demonstration.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A senior IDF officer was ousted from his leadership position and given a suspended jail sentence by a military court for attending last Thursday’s right-wing protest in Jerusalem while wearing his uniform.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, was captured by TV news cameras participating in the pro-judicial reform march while in uniform, with his service rifle slung across his shoulders. He was seen transporting a speaker on a stretcher, which was also held by other demonstrators.

“The participation of an IDF officer in a demonstration while wearing a uniform is prohibited and completely unacceptable,” the Israeli military said in a statement, adding that the man had been removed from his command position and sentenced to 25 days in military prison, though suspended.

Notably, left-wing reservists opposed to the judicial overhaul have repeatedly waved the flags of the units in which they served, identified themselves as members of the military in critical roles, such as pilots, and leveraged their status as part of their protests.

Images from a protest in early May show protesters from the “Brothers in Arms” groups – whose is name a direct reference to its members being part of the military establishment – carrying an Israeli flag on a stretcher, the way they would carry a wounded soldier.

While the demonstrators aren’t in full military uniform, many wear the khaki and green colors associated with active-duty IDF soldiers and are seen sporting hats bearing their units’ insignia, official military backpacks and other Israeli military gear.

In late March, Brothers in Arms organized a protest outside Education Minister Yoav Kisch’s home, during which a man wearing a flight suit with an unfurled parachute camped out in a tree overlooking the residence, calling himself an “abandoned pilot.”

It’s unclear if the man was actually a reservist pilot, but there was no outcry over his use of an Israeli Air Force pilot’s uniform during the political demonstration.

Employees of the Mossad intelligence agency, including senior members, have also participated in and organized anti-reform protests, with the permission of the security body.