Even the perception of freedom of speech is under attack in Israel. A few months ago Ynet published an article about the IDF plan that took place in late August and early September. Under the plan, anyone could return illegally held military property to any military base or police station, and not face any negative repurcussions. No names were to be taken or anything of the sort. So far, nothing new, the IDF does this every few years.
Apparently the “talkbacks” section of the online article included a number of comments by reservists regarding the quality of military equipment and the embarrassment of the Second Lebanon War, in which reserve units were not given the appropriate equipment (in same cases, they did not even get enough food and water). The comments also included information revealing that they were in possession of military equipment.
Soldiers serving in the Criminal Investigations Division of the Military Police, who apparently have way too much time on their hands, decided they didn’t like this and demanded that Ynet hand over the IP addresses of these commenters (again, in Hebrew), so that their identities could be revealed, and they could be prosecuted in a military court, as soldiers.
Thankfully the judge denied their request. His reasoning, however, was not the right of free speech. It was because the reservists’ lawyers relayed (anonymously) that they did not steal the equipment, but use it in their capacity as combat (reserve) soldiers, and intended to return everything when they would be discharged from reserve duty permanently.
Free speech in Israel is fast approaching the status of a privilege and not a right.