Last week, footage emerged, showing a Givati Brigade soldier punching a left-wing activist in the head. The soldier who was filming the altercation was heard on camera, saying, "Itamar Ben-Gvir will create order." The soldier responsible for the remarks was sentenced to 10 days in a military prison.
Following the incident, testimonies of IDF veterans began to emerge. The troops recalled the difficulties they had to face when confronting left-wing activists during their service, and how the activity of pro-Palestinian campaigners negatively impacted the development on the ground.
Aviram Zeevi, the chairman of the "Ad Kan" NGO, which investigates protest activities considered detrimental to Israel's image and resilience, said he encountered "anarchists" during his service many times. Zeevi served as a commander in a reserves infantry battalion for 20 years,
In the most recent incident, Zeevi and his battalion encountered left-wing activists who stood on a hill near an area where riots often break out, and observed the forces for a long time before clashing with the troops. He said the Palestinians would help the activists by initiating the riots. He said they would throw stones, burn tires, and try to set aflame IDF outposts across the West Bank barrier while soldiers were still inside them.
"There is no single IDF combatant who has not encountered or suffered from the activities of the anarchists. We have reached a surreal situation in which anarchists harm the IDF's operational routine. The incoming government must end this phenomenon," Zeevi said.
Liran Baruch, an IDF veteran from 202nd Paratrooper Battalion, who lost his eye during operational activity, said that he served 10 months in Hebron and faced "anarchist activities" on a daily basis.
"They forget IDF troops are humans as well. No one knows how the anarchists taunt soldiers just before they turn on the camera. The fact that the State of Israel has not handled this phenomenon so far is absurd."
Major "M" who also served in the West Bank said called the reality pf having to deal with the activists as "intolerable."
"On several occasions Palestinian suspects or suspicious vehicles evaded the forces because of this interference. IDF troops don't have the authority to act against them, and our hands were tied. They must be handled through arrests and prosecution."
Amichai Sahar, 21, was a combat engineer, said he also encountered left-wing activists who tried to provoke him and his fellow comrades.
"I served two months in the West Bank, and I encountered many left-wing anarchists - usually the same people. They have special methods and they know what to do to provoke you. They also bring a bunch of tourists with cameras even for minor events just to make a mess. And when we were checking Palestinian IDs, they would tell the tourists the more we use our system to check them, the bigger the reward.
"I also served with many Border Police troops, and they don't even listen to them, Israel must change the attitude toward IDF soldiers in the West Bank, it cannot allow them to be insulted in such a manner," Sahar added.