The recently posted video of six soldiers from the Nahal Brigade conducting a
Macarena-like dance in Hebron’s empty Casbah in the middle of a patrol has
evoked strong emotions across the Web.
While some see the clip as a
charming expression of the young men’s humanity, others are enraged that while
the local Palestinians’ freedom of movement is denied in that part of the city,
the soldiers can remain aloof and even playful.
Bertolt Brecht himself could have not created a more alienating effect,
the juvenile words, tunes and simplistic dance moves of Kesha’s “Tik
Tok” on the
one hand, and the soldiers – fully garbed in their battle vests, helmets
their heads and machine guns ready for use – in the heart of a hostile
city, on the other. The question is whether there was an ulterior motive
the clip’s making.
Delirium838, whose posting on Youtube had, as of press
time on Tuesday, received nearly 32,000 views, asked comment writers to
politics and hatred.
“Just Enjoy :) ‘Palhod 50’ dancing in Hebron. We
love you guys :),” Delirium added.
And indeed most of the comments listed
were supportive of the IDF and the “cute” entertainment number. But not
One thoughtful viewer pointed out that “posting this video was a
political act in and of itself (intentionally on your part or
Another, Magi 1969, summed up the other argument: “This is funny,
regardless of the context, and more so considering it. It’s good that
relax a bit while keeping the Untermenchen in order in the super-ghetto.
Hammerzeit!?” Another post insisted that “No1 understands what happens
midle East... Look at those soldiers, dancing after killing a lot of
More sophisticated entries maintained that the video was an
attempt by the IDF and Israel to improve its public standing by showing
cute, human side of its soldiers. But anyone with a knowledge of the
Brigade will be far from surprised that the video was created in their
will they doubt its authenticity.
At the height of the first Intifada in
the late 1980s, the joke circulating was that Nahal soldiers don’t deal
Palestinian uprisings in the West Bank and Gaza. The reason? If they
burning tire – one of the means Palestinians used to block the roads as
and as an ambush – the soldiers would sit around it, pull out a guitar
singing in unison.
The Nahal used to be part of the pioneering movement
in Israel, and the military service was part of a longer track in which
soldiers were part of gender-mixed groups involved in agricultural and
What is clear is that the Israeli soldiers didn’t come up
with the idea, but were inspired by other Western armies in combat
most famous example is the recent parody of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone,”
American soldiers inside a military base in Afghanistan, which has been
over five million viewers so far. A British take of Madness’s “Must Be
worth seeing, showing soldiers and officers in Iraq going about their
The most striking video, however, would be the Marines in Iraq
dancing and lip-syncing Haddaway’s “What Is Love?” That line in the song
followed by the lyrics, “Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me no more.” The
soldiers are filmed in their base, in the desert and also inside a
apparently during a search. Smiling civilians also appear in the clip,
three cute Iraqi children.
The clip from Hebron is not a first of its
kind; a video of female IDF soldiers dancing to Avril Lavigne’s
uploaded already in 2007. It was reposted on Monday and even reported by
News as a new clip, cited as an example that the IDF was being swept by a
Judging by the above examples, the one clear conclusion is that
the recent Nahal posting will be receiving nasty responses. Whether or
are justified is a different question.