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Middle east

Former IDF soldier adds fuel to the fire on Facebook

Text by Sophie PILGRIM

Latest update : 2010-08-20

The former Israeli soldier whose Facebook photos of Palestinian detainees shocked the world, has today angered critics further by saying “it would be fun to kill Arabs, even slaughter them” during a public discussion on Facebook.

The photos of former IDF soldier Eden Abergil’s posing with blindfolded Palestinian detainees has caused international outrage, and become the focus of Israeli media, but Abergil added fuel to the fire Thursday by writing that she would happily “kill or even slaughter” Arabs.
The photos that sparked the outcry were posted on Abergil’s Facebook account and made “available to all”. Smiling and flirtatious, she posed for the camera in front of Palestinian and Arab detainees; hands tied and blindfolded. The comments below the photos, posted by Abergil and her friends, only confirmed her contempt for the subjects.
In an interview with Israeli media, Abergil denied any wrongdoing and said that she would do the same again today, although she confessed that she regretted posting the photos on the social networking website.
But despite her regret for the caused and an admission that she “truly understood what was wrong” with the pictures, the 21-year-old from Ashdod, in east Israel, continued to provide ammunition for her critics on Thursday when she lost her cool during an online discussion, again on Facebook.
The online argument started when Abergil commented on digitally edited images of herself that other Facebook users had posted as a joke. After a defensive rant about her not affording “Arab lovers to ruin her perfect life”, Abergil finished off with “there are no laws in war! I hate Arabs and wish them all the worst and it would be fun for me to kill them or even massacre them.”
Despite the scornful reaction of left-leaning Israeli media, which has followed Abergil’s every move since she became the most talked about person in the country, some of her fellow compatriots regard her as simply unlucky. Israeli blogger and France 24 Observer Lisa Goldman, who has been following the debate, says that Abergil could serve as a catalyst for action against racism.
“She’s become a symbol; the media are portraying her as a bad apple. But she’s not unique. She represents a certain type here in Israel and a much larger problem that needs addressing. There’s a lot of fear and racism fuelling this kind of resentment. Perhaps her [Abergil’s] actions and the subsequent publicity will provoke a proper and wide scale debate about how we can tackle this problem.”
Meanwhile, the furore continued online, where critics and supporters of Abergil alike battle out their differences. Neither the Israeli government nor the IDF have any control over Abergil’s actions or the online discussions, leaving this unfolding national debate out of their immediate reach.


Date created : 2010-08-19


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