Soldiers in an IDF base drew swastikas and yelled ‘Heil Hitler’, hurting a soldier who had emigrated from France to Israel in order to escape anti-Semitism. The affair was exposed after the soldier, age 21, submitted a suit to the Ministry of Defense.
When the soldier enlisted in the IDF, he had the highest possible physical profile. He was recently discharged, after only six months of service, after developing severe diabetes.
According to the soldier, he decided to move to Israel from France after suffering years of anti-Semitism in the country. Last August, he enlisted in the IDF and was sent to the ‘Mihveh Alon’ base, where new recruits receive intensive Hebrew courses, in addition to undergoing basic training.
“While on base, I witnessed appalling and scary incidents, carried out by a group of Russian immigrants who behaved like neo-Nazis. They would draw swastikas, do the fascist salute, and yell ‘Heil Hitler’.
“This behavior brought back the fear I had felt as a Jew in France, and reminded me of the anti-Semitism I had left behind – anti-Semitism to which I had not expected to be exposed in Israel, and specifically in the military,” said the soldier.
His advocate, Eli Saban, stated that the soldier’s appeals to his commanders on the base did not help, and the anti-Semitism merely worsened, eventually even manifesting as physical violence.
In September, the soldier and one of his friends were attacked by the group of Russian soldiers. This led to a group fight on the base between Russian-speakers and French-speakers. Following the fight, the Russian-speaking soldiers were sent to military prison.
After they finished their prison sentence, the Russian-speakers returned to the base and continued their threatening and anti-Semitic behavior,” reads the petition to the Ministry of Defense.
Three weeks before the end of basic training, the soldier began to suffer from symptoms of constant thirst and urination. After being hospitalized, he was diagnosed with diabetes. Due to the disease, he was discharged from the military.
“I have no doubt that the conditions in ‘Mihveh Alon’, which created extreme tension and fear, are what caused the onset of the disease,” claimed the soldier in his suit to the ministry.
Reuven Weiss contributed to the report