Watch: Israelis Demand "A Bullet In The Head" For Palestinians and Leftists At Rally For Killer Soldier

A startling inside look at pervasive racism and militarism in Israeli society

On March 24, 2016, in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, an Israeli military medic handed his helmet to another soldier, cocked his weapon and calmly fired a bullet into the head of a local Palestinian man, then accused of stabbing an Israeli soldier, as he lay wounded and immobile on the ground. A local Palestinian researcher with the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem filmed the execution, and the video immediately went viral.

Top Israeli officials who had previously backed a shoot-to-kill policy publicly distanced themselves from the soldier’s actions while the public rallied around him, hailing him as a national hero. Anything less than full support for the soldier earned the ire of the Israeli public, who felt betrayed by top brass and were egged on by hard-right-wing politicians.

Out of several rallies held in support of the soldier across the country, we attended the one held in the soldier’s hometown of Ramleh, which was officially sponsored by the city council. Held in the municipal cultural center next to city hall, the event drew a broad spectrum of local Jewish residents, and featured speeches by Ramleh Mayor Yoel Lavi and ruling Likud party Member of Parliament Oren Hazan, among others.

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Rally speakers and attendees alike called for the army to drop proceedings against the soldier and release him immediately, and incited against human rights activists who expose Israeli army human rights violations. At the conclusion of the rally, attendees poured out of the venue and chanted “Bibi, go home!” and “Death to leftists!”

David Sheen is an independent journalist and filmmaker. His website is www.davidsheen.com and he tweets from @davidsheen.

Dan Cohen is a contributing writer at AlterNet.