May 4, 2020 / 11:16 AM / 22 days ago

Israeli military brings down curtain on dancers after video clip

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel’s military has decided to end the drafting of soldiers as dancers in its entertainment troupes after a video of two male conscripts gyrating on stage prompted criticism that their performance was unbecoming.

Most Israelis are conscripted into the armed forces when they turn 18 for a period of two to three years. A few with particular athletic or artistic skills are allowed to continue these pursuits as part of their military service.

When pop-stars Noa Kirel and Yonatan Margi enlisted, the military expanded the troupes they were to perform in to include back-up dancers so as to achieve more professional shows, Israel’s Army Radio said.

But the top brass had second thoughts after the video clip circulated on social media at the weekend of Kirel in her uniform singing at a base as two soldiers bopped behind her.

“Senior officers did not like the sight of men dancing like that in military fatigues. Apparently, to them, it disgraced the military,” Army Radio reported.

The comments online were also critical.

“We might as well just raise a white flag already!” read one. “Do we have a chance in the next war?” asked another.

A military spokeswoman said on Monday the chief of personnel had decided to shelve the dancers initiative.

Army Radio said the two conscripts filmed in the clip, as well as two female dancers, would be reassigned to roles allowing them enough free time to dance in civilian settings.

Kirel and Margi will continue singing on stage without any backup.

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Gareth Jones

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