The IDF Spokesman Unit condemned soldiers who published photographs of themselves with signs calling for "revenge" against Arabs for the kidnap and murder of three Israeli youths, adding that commanders have been instructed to seek out and punish any soldiers found to be involved.
The Spokesman Unit said soldiers involved in "sending racist photographs and calls to harm innocent people" have taken part in a "severe incident" that is out of line with the military's expectations. "Any incident of this nature that becomes known to commanders will be dealt with the utmost severity," the army added.
"We regret that national feelings of sadness are being exploited by political elements for incitement, and the linking of those who serve in the IDF to this phenomenon," the army added. "Freedom of expression on social media is not a replacement to dialogue with commanders, which is what is the appropriate measure in these type of incidents."
Meanwhile the Israel Police announced on Wednesday evening that it will open an investigation into incitement to racism and violence, mainly on Facebook, following a request made by the Attorney General.
The probe will be handled by the cyber crimes division of the police, and will look at "suspected crimes of incitement to racism and violence, and harming innocents", police said.
They added that the probe would examine both incitement by Jews against Arabs and Arabs against Jews.
Since the bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaer and Naftali Fraenkel were discovered on Monday, Israeli social media has been awash with groups calling for "vengeance" against Arabs, with the hashtag "nakama" ("revenge") appearing time and again.
On Arabic social media, there have been calls for violence against Jews following news Wednesday morning that 16-year-old Mohammad Hussein Abu Khdeir's body had been found mutilated and partially burned in a forest in the city.