Israeli soldiers wear T-shirts printed with jokes about murdering pregnant Muslim women and Palestinian babies
Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009
The office at the Adiv fabric-printing shop in south Tel Aviv handles a constant stream of customers, many of them soldiers in uniform, who come to order custom clothing featuring their unit's insignia, usually accompanied by a slogan and drawing of their choosing. Elsewhere on the premises, the sketches are turned into plates used for imprinting the ordered items, mainly T-shirts and baseball caps, but also hoodies, fleece jackets and pants. A young Arab man from Jaffa supervises the workers who imprint the words and pictures, and afterward hands over the finished product.
Dead babies, mothers weeping on their children's graves, a gun aimed at a child and bombed-out mosques - these are a few examples of the images Israel Defense Forces soldiers design these days to print on shirts they order to mark the end of training, or of field duty. The slogans accompanying the drawings are not exactly anemic either: A T-shirt for infantry snipers bears the inscription "Better use Durex," next to a picture of a dead Palestinian baby, with his weeping mother and a teddy bear beside him. A sharpshooter's T-shirt from the Givati Brigade's Shaked battalion shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a bull's-eye superimposed on her belly, with the slogan, in English, "1 shot, 2 kills." A "graduation" shirt for those who have completed another snipers course depicts a Palestinian baby, who grows into a combative boy and then an armed adult, with the inscription, "No matter how it begins, we'll put an end to it."
There are also plenty of shirts with blatant sexual messages. For example, the Lavi battalion produced a shirt featuring a drawing of a soldier next to a young woman with bruises, and the slogan, "Bet you got raped!" A few of the images underscore actions whose existence the army officially denies - such as "confirming the kill" (shooting a bullet into an enemy victim's head from close range, to ensure he is dead), or harming religious sites, or female or child non-combatants.
In many cases, the content is submitted for approval to one of the unit's commanders. The latter, however, do not always have control over what gets printed, because the artwork is a private initiative of soldiers that they never hear about. Drawings or slogans previously banned in certain units have been approved for distribution elsewhere. For example, shirts declaring, "We won't chill 'til we confirm the kill" were banned in the past (the IDF claims that the practice doesn't exist), yet the Haruv battalion printed some last year.
The slogan "Let every Arab mother know that her son's fate is in my hands!" had previously been banned for use on another infantry unit's shirt. A Givati soldier said this week, however, that at the end of last year, his platoon printed up dozens of shirts, fleece jackets and pants bearing this slogan.
"It has a drawing depicting a soldier as the Angel of Death, next to a gun and an Arab town," he explains. "The text was very powerful. The funniest part was that when our soldier came to get the shirts, the man who printed them was an Arab, and the soldier felt so bad that he told the girl at the counter to bring them to him."
Haaretz, "Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 ", 20 March 2009.
Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 - Haaretz - Israel News
Metro, "Troops' 'tasteless' T-shirts banned [for PR
damage limitation after the story was reported in foreign news media]", 24 March 2009.
Troops' 'tasteless' T-shirts banned | Metro.co.uk
Israel's military today [after the story was reported in foreign news media] condemned [in a restrospective PR
damage limitation exercise] "tasteless" T-shirts worn by soldiers that celebrate scenes of Palestinian suffering.
The T-shirts, ordered by troops to mark the end of basic training and other military courses, were worn by a number of enlisted men in different units, it was revealed.
One shows a child in the cross-hairs of a rifle with the slogan: "The smaller they are, the harder it is."
Another portrays a pregnant woman in the cross-hairs and the words: "1 Shot 2 Kills."
Others depict a soldier blowing up a mosque and Palestinian women weeping over a gravestone.
The Tel Aviv factory that made many of the shirts, Adiv, refused to comment.
The Insider - Israeli soldiers wear T-shirts printed with jokes about murdering pregnant Muslim women and Palestinian babies