New York – The controversial picture featuring Senator David Storobin (R-Brooklyn) wearing an IDF uniform and carrying a gun along Syria’s border during his recent trip to Israel continues to make headlines.
Asked why the Senator was dressed in an army uniform and holding a weapon, Mr. Storobin’s spokesman, Steven Stites, told Capital New York (http://bit.ly/NMU3Bx), “As Israelis know all too well, the Syrian border is a hostile area. Visitors there are required to don a uniform and carry a gun. Even members of the Knesset do so. There are snipers on the other side. If they see an unarmed person not in uniform, they may assume it’s a leader of some kind, and that person could be a target.”
But other elected officials who have also visited Israel and the Syrian border said they had never heard of this practice. A spokeswoman at the Israeli Consulate in Washington confirmed that she, too, was not aware of such protocol.
Assemblyman Rory Lancman said, “”I’m sure it’s actually against Israeli Defense Force rules … Dressing up like an Israeli soldier and carrying a weapon is not appropriate… Military organizations don’t run along with these casual lines.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind told Capital New York, “I’ve never heard anything like that. Maybe they made new rules in the past couple of days.”
Mr. Stites claimed Senator Storobin and his entourage had been directed by the IDF to wear the uniform, but later clarified his comments and said, “They were told by the IDF to wear it as a matter of safety. To me, that meant ‘required.’ As to whether that is an official policy or a requirement, I don’t know. But if I were urged to do something like that for my own safety, I’d do it, wouldn’t you?”