Patchouli protest – Five days after the decision to ban troops in the Paratroopers Brigade's 202 Battalion Auxiliary Company from wearing their traditional 'patchouli mascots', some 100 company graduates arrived at the Zarit post on the Lebanese border in order to protest the move.
The protesters – reserve soldiers in their 20s and 30s from all around the country – assembled in front of the post entrance and waited for the regular company soldiers to join them on the other side of the fence. The protesters then called out: "The patchouli lives!"
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The graduates placed patchouli vials on the fence, but an officer at the rank of major immediately removed them, warning the protesters that he will call the police if they carry on with their behavior.
One of the protest organizers, Yoav Martin, said they will continue to stage demonstrations in front of the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. The veteran soldiers also read out loud letters written to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the commanders of the battalion and the brigade.
'The pachouli lives'
Last week, Ynet reported that Brigade Commander Colonel Amir Baram has decided to ban the practice of wearing a vial of patchouli scent on a string around the soldiers' neck. The practice has been accompanying the 202 Auxiliary Company for over 30 years.
In response, the soldiers threatened mutiny, and several said they would halt their activities.
Lior Shabat, 32, who completed his military service in 2001, said "we all serve in the reserves together and we all took part in the Second Lebanon War. The patchouli mascot has accompanied us since our first day in the army. It's something that unites everyone. When you travel in South America and you see someone wearing a patchouli vial around his neck, you immediately know where he came from.
"All those urban legends about the content of the vial (women's bodily liquid) are totally fabricated," he added.
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