Avi Yakobov: Killing Culture of Impunity
I find it disturbing that one of Israel’s most free-wheeling online forums, Rotter, has locked the thread in which Avi Yakobov, the IDF soldier who abused a Palestinian woman by belly-dancing and rubbing against her body (see video), was publicly identified. I believe the ostensible reason for doing so is the Hamas threat to kidnap Yakobov in revenge for his degrading of Ihsan Dababseh at the Gush Etzion military base.
But what is Rotter protecting? Every Israeli cabinet minister has been threatened with assassination by Hezbollah. Does this mean that Rotter will lock any thread which mentions them? And what information about Yakobov could anyone learn that would imperil him any more than he’s imperiled himself?
One more note before I move on: the Rotter right-wing warriors have gone apoplectic against Yossi Gurvitz, blaming him for the original story about Yakobov. Yossi is too nice a guy to allow him to take the blame alone. So for the record, I broke this story and deserve all the opprobrium being hurled at Yossi. After publishing my first post, I realized it was important that Israeli bloggers begin exposing the story as well so I wrote to several. Yossi was one of the few who took up the call adding important research and background in his own posts. I find it humorous that the forum members even believe that Yossi is me, just as they believe that another forum member who posts links to my work there is me. I’m beginning to feel like a character from the Scarlet Pimpernel, the man of 1,000 faces.
I have a close Israeli friend with whom I’ve worked on many similar stories and even he was a bit freaked out by the Hamas threat. But I ask him and any Israelis who feel similarly to look at this differently. Avi Yakobov is more than just an individual case. He is in a sense a trailblazer, a precedent. I believe that it is good that someone has threatened Yakobov. It is good that his future trips to enjoy Oktoberfest in Berlin or Munich will be curtailed and he will be looking over his shoulder if he ever decides to take an overseas vacation. I say this not because I wish any ill to Yakobov. Instead, I say it because he is a model for other Israeli soldiers who every day engage in the same type of behavior he did.
Let them think about the repercussions of engaging in such abuse before they do. Let them think about their future being constrained or compromised by their violation of the human rights of Palestinians. This is what is happening writ large to Israeli generals and politicians. But I say let it happen to common soldiers as well. I’d like every Israeli to understand there are consequences for the Occupation. Like Dylan says: bring it all back home.
I understand that Israeli reporters are beginning to sniff out this story and are calling Yakobov at his home and being welcomed with a tirade of abuse. Good. Let him yell and scream all he likes. I only hope that an Israeli publication gets the guts to finally print this guy’s name so that he can take ownership of his bad acts, whether he wishes to or not.
Maan News has interviewed Ihsan Dababseh (spelling her name “Dababisa”) about her ordeal in Israeli detention and it adds further details about her suffering that weren’t previously known:
Dababisa spoke to Ma’an’s correspondent in her home in Nuba village, west of Hebron, and described the ordeal which followed her detention.
Dababisa said she was detained at Etzion checkpoint at 8 a.m. on 11 December 2007, and thrown into a military jeep, handcuffed and blindfolded. She was taken to the yard of Etzion detention center in front of a group of soldiers.
Moments later, she said, she heard loud music and one of the soldiers tried to touch her. She tried to stay close to the wall, and another soldier arrived with a bottle of wine, and offered her a drink. When she refused, but he continued to harass her, she said.
The soldiers then attacked her “like vicious dogs.”
“They began beating me with rifle butts and legs. One of the soldiers hit my head against the metal of the military jeep until I fainted. Then I found myself in front of a female doctor wearing military uniform. After examining me they moved me to the interrogation center where my journey of torture and humiliation started.
“The officer’s name who began to interrogate me was Beran. He threatened to demolish my family home and arrest my siblings, the interrogation lasted for two hours. After that I was transferred with my eyes blindfolded to another interrogation center, I think it was the Russian compound, where there were three interrogators.
“Soon after I came in they began insulting and cursing using words I do not want to say. One of the interrogators was pulling me by my hair. I was handcuffed the whole time. The interrogation lasted until 11 at night, then they transferred me to Hasharon prison where they accused me of trying to stab someone, and of affiliation with the Islamic Jihad. Lawyers from the prisoners’ society defended me and I was sentenced to 22 months in prison. I was released on 6 September 2009.”
37 thoughts on “Avi Yakobov: Killing Culture of Impunity – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
Comments are published at the sole discretion of the owner.
doesnt it bother you in the slightest how the story of what happened has now changed drastically?
now she was attacked?
these arent further details…these are embellishments to make the story sound worse
what the soldier did was wrong, and he should be punished
but if she really wishes to file suit, and is now making claims of physical abuse, i hope she has concrete evidence to back it up, or the entire case will be tossed.
and i would like to note that you now have 4 separate threads on this case….yet shalit still languishes in solitary confinement and has yet been allowed to have a rep from the red cross visit….and your last post on that was months ago
It didn’t change. This was the first time she’d ever been interviewed by a Palestinian publication about the incident. Nothing “changed” since she’d never spoken about it in detail.
She was there. You weren’t. So where do you get off making a judgment that what the victim claimed happened didn’t? Are you seriously claiming that events not described in the YouTube video couldn’t have happened precisely as the victim described them??
No, three. Gilad Shalit is off topic. Stay on topic. If you want to write about Gilad Shalit do so at your own blog. Otherwise, follow the comment rules & stay on topic.
Not to encourage this change of topic, but Shalit is a prisoner of war, captured while engaged in armed action. As such, he is entitled to be treated under the terms of the Geneva Convention pertaining to POW’s. On the other hand, under international law those who captured him are entitled to keep him imprisoned until the hostilities have ended.
The young woman we are talking about now was and is not a combatant, and it is extremely unlikely there was any justification for her arrest.
Yes I agree Shalit is not on topic. I would suggest however that an exchange of of our dancing soldier for Shalit might be appropriate. I do wish Yakobov ill. My grandson is in the Army and I am glad that he is strong enough in character to avoid being influenced by the culture of racism and fascism by which he is surrounded. Until this culture of impunity is stopped, there will be more of these incidents. We are seeing the tip of the iceberg. You should have been at ZOA house last night to hear Michael Sfard talking about impunity.
There was wrongdoing. There is no impunity, there is bureaucracy. You are attributing to malice what can be explained by incompetence.
This a lie and a libel. If it were even slightly widespread, how have they kept it secret?
This and even much worse is happening on a daily basis in the West Bank. Humiliation of the civilian Palestinian population, for the unique purpose of showing that you’re in power.
I invite you to read some of the testimonies by “Breaking the Silence. There is also a lot of interviews on Youtube. I particularly recommend Yehuda Shaul who has some horrible things to say of what’s going on in al-Khalil (Hebron) during the military service.
Those people are the pride of Israel, and as a friend said to me recently: “If we’ll ever be able to forgive what the Israelis have done to us, these kind of persons are the reason”.
“Breaking the Silence” has been nominated for the Sakharov Prize of the European Parliament (the alternative Nobel Peace Prize). How wonderful it would be if they had it.
The daily abuse of this kind has not been kept secret. If you want to know, the information is out there. But there isn’t more blind than the one who doen’t want to see, nor more deaf than the one who doesn’t want to hear. You’re apparently one of those.
Dream on, baby. This blog exposes such misdeeds virtually every day. Where’ve you been.
[comment deleted for violating comment rules–do not repeat yrself]
For what it is worth: He himself (or his pals) called it so: ‘belly dancing, funny’ in the title of the video they posted. But I agree: it is not. (Not funny, and not belly dancing.)
No I was wrong, it says: he dance ‘on haer’ (funny).
Still two mistakes, but no ‘belly dancing’.
One of the newspaper articles about this called it “belly-dancing.” It’s actually an Israeli imitation of the debka.
It’s a pretty lousy imitation if it is supposed to be the dabka.
No one ever claimed this guy was a dancer, prob. wasn’t even a very good soldier considering he was thrown in the brig for being drunk on duty.
from the youtube thread which now has nearly 800000 views.
Please take a look at what the hora looks like before you come back and make a fool of yourself over this again. The Hora is a European line or circle dance that looks absolutely nothing like what that idiot was doing.
“the IDF soldier who abused a Palestinian woman by
belly-dancingdancing the Horah and rubbing against her body”
I’m getting very tired of your obsession with this. He’s dancing what he considers a belly dance. You don’t twist your body as he does, when you’re dancing the hora. The belly dance as an Arab dance form is supposed to further humiliate her.
Bring up this stupid comment again & you’ll be moderated.
I love this blog.
You’re 10 steps ahead; you get it, and that’s what makes me keep coming back here.
Thanks very much.
I just watched the video for the first time – disgusting and appalling, I’m ashamed that he is most likely Jewish, and is a soldier in the IDF. I hope the Israeli authorities will change their position and deal with this as they ought.
This dance is nothing like the horah but is a typical arab and sefardic male or female dance seen at any wedding or celebration. It’s not belly dancing, but this is not at all important. It’s not what he’s dancing it’s how and in what circumstances he’s doing it.
Actually, you’re right. It’s more like a debka dance form, which is I think what you meant. I think it is important that the abuser is appropriating what he sees as an Arab dance form to humilitate the Palestinian prisoner. It makes the offense more degrading to her.
“killing the culture of impunity”. Yeah, let’s replace the (lacking) moral sense with a sense of fear. let’s not abuse prisoners because they wouldn’t let us into London after service.
Sure, that will work. Because people who abuse others, film it and publish it are known for their long term thinking, right….
A culture of impunity.
That is precisely the reason why this whole conflict has reached the level of intensity and debased humanity that now exists.
No settler will blame another settler for harsh treatment of a Palestinian neighbour.
No Hamas or Fatah member will agonise unduly over the death of just one more Israeli occupier.
Few Zionist will loose much sleep over the martyrdom of some militant Arab, dying in combat with the IDF.
The Gaza blockade has sufficient support to maintain itself in being for a good while yet, no problems there.
The IDF will not inquire too closely into conduct unbecoming any of its members, not unless that conduct stays too long in the public domain to ignore.
Many in Arab communities invoke God as their guarantor of national salvation and will brook no deviation from His divine will – and, as they see it, He’s on their side. Blame therefore attaches to none who would carry out His commands.
The same can also be said of Jews on the extreme right; God has spoken and His word cannot be countermanded or reinterpreted. Jews have dominion in Israel because God has ordered it so.
It seems even God cannot be relied upon to do the decent thing and make His intentions absolutely clear.
Of course, it could be that, just for once, God would like to see all of us resolve the problem ourselves and in a manner not involving copious amounts of bloodletting. Given the multitude of instructions, commandments and admonitions handed down to us over the centuries, it may well be that such an expectation does now exist and the human race may have reached a sufficient degree of maturity and competence to finally have resolution in the matter.
It seems that we, even if reluctantly, must be the judge and jury here and, if necessary, executioner also. To do otherwise is to leave the decision to fate. And fate has never been the best arbiter in deciding the future of individuals. Or of nations.
So in your world the oppressed and dispossessed are supposed to spend their time and energy agonizing over the well-being of their oppressors.
Richard, i have just one question.
i understand your reason of publishing the soldier name, and i am sure you don’t wish him any ill.
but other forces out there may take advantage of what you wrote and would kidnap / assassinate him.
i know you compared him to the Israeli members of the government, but each of them has a security detail guarding him so that is not a fair comparison.
how would you feel if he would get killed ? do you think its an adequate punishment ?
I have no pity for people who deliberately seal their fate by treating others inhumanely.
I think Israel should be forced to provide a security detail for every IDF soldier who abuses any Palestinian. I don’t want anyone killed, but I want Israel to spend so much money protecting these idiots that it has to end the Occupation just like Reagan claimed to have bankrupted the Soviet Union w. the nuclear arms race.
Arjay, why should anyone be particularly concerned for this humanoid yakobov, whose programming clearly does not include the universal value of respect for his own species?
Also, we kind of doubt anyone would actually want to bother kidnapping/assassinating this obviously inferior life form. Not much gain/loss value proposition there. Trust me, If it were up to us, we have far better targets…..
Sincerely, your cylon neighbour.
“And men don’t bellydance. that is a sexlimited tradition.”
Men don’t bellydance? Are you kidding me? I for one am wondering why you keep posting the same thing over and over when it is a well known fact there are male belly-dancers and that when a woman is belly dancing and a male gets up to dance with her he is not doing anything other than the same dance as a male would do it. Just go to youtube or google male belly dancers and then try saying men don’t engage and it is a “sexlimited tradition”
Now that that point has been made, let me get this straight, this soldier according to Shams is dancing the horah and that is a disgrace to “Jewish cultural tradition”. How about it’s a disgrace to humanity that he is dancing like this at all! If he had been doing Flamenco dancing would it have been any less humiliating? No!
So Richard, you are knowingly trying to hurt the state of Israel economically? did i get that right ?
Don’t be an ass. You know what I wrote. I don’t answer deliberately provocative questions.
@ Richard, i actually don’t know what you said, what i read is a bit problematic in my eyes, and that is why i am asking for further clarification.
just to remind you this is what you stated:
“I think Israel should be forced to provide a security detail for every IDF soldier who abuses any Palestinian. I don’t want anyone killed, but I want Israel to spend so much money protecting these idiots that it has to end the Occupation just like Reagan claimed to have bankrupted the Soviet Union w. the nuclear arms race.”
seems to me you want Israel to loose economically.
The Occupation constitutes moral bankruptcy in my eyes. What’s wrong with making Israel suffer the economic burden of Occupation as well? If there was a real economic price to be paid for perpetrating evil it would end much sooner, which is why I’m sympathetic to aspects of BDS.
@ Richard, isn’t BDS punishing the entire society ?
what’s the difference between BDS and the siege on Gaza, it’s the same thing just the scope is a bit different.
why is one form of siege acceptable to you, while the other isn’t ?
When Israel is completely surrounded and shut off from the outside world, when others decide what goes into Israel and how much, and also whether people who need urgent medical care abroad can leave the country or not. When students who have plans to study abroad are prevented from doing so etc. etc. (need I go on?) THEN you will have a situation that comes close to the blockade of Gaza. And I would be against it.
BDS on the other hand, cannot be compared to the above, and is, in fact, for Israel’s OWN GOOD. Because without sanctions as well as incentives (Israel has had plenty of those, but preferential treatment only makes it more stubborn) it will only continue to head for its own desctruction: You should be thankful there is a BDS movement for Israel’s own sake, even if you don’t care a wit about the injustices your country inflictes upon the Palestinians.
You think that BDS involves soldiers entering Israel & killing 1,400 Israelis, destroying the infrastructure of Israel & massacreing women & children, destroying synagogues, universities, municipal & state buildings, assassinating cabinet ministers, etc.? Interesting. I guess the scope is more than just “a bit different.”
BDS is off topic. When I want to debate BDS I will. I don’t.