An Israeli soldier was caught on camera on Friday evening rescuing a Palestinian man under assault from a group of Jewish youths in Chevron.
In a video clip of the incident, a group of six Israelis can be seen attacking the man, later identified as Ibrahim Bader, 31.
The soldier then charges into the group, shouldering one of the assailants aside and pushing the others back. The soldier wrests Bader away from one of the assailants and escorts him away. At this point more youths appear, and the group pursues Bader and the soldier.
According to a preliminary IDF investigation, the assailants also assaulted the soldier, Ynet reported.
Bader later told Channel 12 News that he wished to “thank the soldier who helped me and kept them away from me. God sent him to save my life.” The 31-year-old security guard and father of three said he was on his way to work when he was attacked.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Saturday commended the soldier, writing on Twitter: “The Golani soldier who defended a Palestinian resident of Hebron acted as is expected of every soldier and commander in the IDF … The IDF is committed to the safety of civilians wherever it operates, and I trust the IDF command structure to investigate the incident in an orderly manner.”
According to Israeli website Srugim, the youths were “at-risk” individuals who were not residents of Chevron but were only visiting the city for the weekend.
The altercation was one of a number of incidents that took place in Hebron on Friday night, with Arab residents of the city reportedly throwing rocks and firebombs at Jews.
Far-right lawyer and politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who claims to be representing some of the suspects, said he had spoken to them on Saturday. He said he could not divulge specifics, but that the suspects told him they had been stoned by Palestinians prior to the incident.
“This wouldn’t be the first time Arabs in Hebron taunt Jews, then pull out a camera,” Ben-Gvir wrote on Twitter.
The youths were detained by Israeli police Saturday morning and subsequently released with a warning.
The incident is still under investigation.