28133728_pride-flagIsrael: A drill sergeant inspecting a military base has chastised soldiers for hanging a pride flag they had hung in their room and said that the flag which symbolizes the LGBT community is a disgrace to the state of Israel.

The Nahal Brigade soldiers, who serve at the Southern Command in the Dimona area, had hung a pride flag in their room with a Star of David drawn on it. The sergeant, who was inspecting the bases’ rooms, found two problems with the state of the room:  a power strip (which is forbidden in army residences) and the flag which incensed him, reports haaretz.com.

“He saw the flag, became upset and said, ‘What’s this flag with the Star of David, it disgraces the State of Israel,'” one soldier said. The sergeant ordered them to remove several other drawing which were hung up on nearby walls and then asked the soldier in charge of the room to put on his uniform so he could be court-marshaled for the power divider.

Following the incident, one of the soldiers wrote on Facebook that he had joined the army “with a sense of security in my sexual orientation and in being a homosexual, and until today I had never felt like there was no room for me and my orientation in the military system.”

Another soldier told Haaretz that “no one should keep silent after such a thing, because if you keep silent you let it go on.”

An army spokesman said in response that “the said incident has been taken out of context, as the order was given to soldiers with the purpose of maintaining the appearance of the base and not out of malice.”

Openly gay people have been allowed to serve in the military, including special units since 1993.  Discrimination against gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers in recruitment, placement and promotion is prohibited in Israel.

Harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation is also prohibited in the Israeli military that recognizes same-sex couples, including widows and widowers of the same-sex couples. Soldiers are also allowed to participate in Gay Pride Parades, says the Israel page on en.wikipedia.org.

Source: haaretz.com