The Israel Defence Forces have been accused of putting out “cringeworthy” TikTok videos in the wake of the latest conflict between Israel and Gaza during which tens of Israelis and hundreds of Palestinians were killed.
The videos showing a number of young, attractive female soldiers performing dance moves to electronic music were posted to the IDF’s official TikTok account, which has 97,200 followers.
Alainna Liloia, an opinion writer at The New Arab, accuses the IDF of distracting from “crimes against Palestinians” with the videos, which she says are intended to “glamourise” Israeli army life.
Israel is one of just a handful of countries in the world with conscription for females over the age of 18, though only if they are Jewish.
In the case of Druze and Circassian Israelis, only males are conscripted, whereas Arabs are exempted altogether, though they can enlist if they so desire.
The normal length of compulsory military service for women is two years, with men having to serve an additional six months.
During the latest flare-up of violence between Israel and Gaza in May, 256 people were killed in the Gaza Strip, according to the UN, which says that 128 of the victims were civilians.
Despite under 20 being killed on the Israeli side, both sides claimed victory after the conflict ended after two weeks and one day in a ceasefire.
Liloia writes: “While showcasing female soldiers’ strength and ability to ‘keep up’ with male soldiers bolsters Israel’s narrative of women’s empowerment, emphasising their femininity serves to normalise or gloss over its violence against Palestinians.”
Retired British army officer Colonel Richard Kemp, on the other hand, has called the IDF the “world’s most moral army”, saying it does “more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare”.