IDF disavows soldier filmed removing gay pride flag from local government in north

An unidentified man wearing an Israel Defense Forces uniform and another individual were filmed Thursday removing a gay pride flag that was erected by local authorities in northern Israel.

In a video of the incident, they can be seen walking away with the flag, which was hung by Emek Hayarden Regional Council, and refusing to answer a man who asks for their identity.

The man in IDF uniform, whom the military said it had not identified, appeared to be an officer and was carrying an M-16 rifle in a video posted by a local Channel 12 reporter. It was unclear whether he was a commissioned officer or a reservist, or in which unit he served. The other man was in civilian clothes.

“The officer’s behavior in the video does not reflect IDF values. The matter will be reviewed and addressed,” the military said.

The flag was removed just hours after Emek Hayarden Regional Council hoisted it on a shopping mall pole at the Tzemach intersection near the southern tip of the Sea of ​​Galilee on Thursday. The council said it was the second time that day the flag had been taken down.

“The couple not only removed the flag, but also sabotaged the flagpole,” the council said in a statement.

The council urged the IDF to investigate the soldier, who it noted apparently made no effort to conceal his face and said he had filed a complaint with the police.

The Aguda Association for LGBT Equality also called on the military to launch an investigation into the soldier.

“LGBT phobia cannot be part of the values ​​of the IDF. The fact that this act of vandalism was committed by a uniformed officer shows how serious the loss of values ​​is,” the group said.

The incident occurred during Gay Pride month, which in Israel has been marked by marches and other events.

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