Israeli Sniper’s Instagram Photo of a Child in His Crosshairs Sparks Outrage


A young Israeli soldier sparked outrage around the world and Web this past week after uploading an ill-advised photo on Instagram. The photo, pictured above, shows the back of a young Palestinian boy’s head in the crosshairs of 20-year-old Israeli sniper Mor Ostrovski’s rifle.

According to Al Jazeera, the photo was discovered Friday by blogger Ali Abunimah on Ostrovski’s Instagram account. Abunimah immediately spread the photo, calling it “simply tasteless and dehumanizing,” and explaining that it “embodies the idea that Palestinian children are targets.”


Ostrovski has since deactivated both his Instagram and Facebook accounts, but not before this and other photos of his went viral on social networks the world over. The photo above, for example, was published by the New York Times before his Facebook account was taken down.

The Israeli Defense Forces have since issued a statement to the press, speaking out against the photo and making it clear that they do not approve of such actions:

The picture in question does not coincide with I.D.F.’s values or code of ethics. The soldier’s commanders have been notified. The issue will be investigated and dealt with accordingly.


However, this doesn’t seem to be the only controversial photo taken by an Israeli soldier, or even the only one of a Palestinian in their crosshairs: The New York Times explained that several of the photos on Ostrovski’s Facebook showed him using his rifle as “a comic prop.” And shortly after the photo went viral, Israeli veterans group Breaking the Silence shared it side-by-side with the eerily similar photo above, taken in 2003 by another Israeli soldier.

  • eraserhead12

    so an uninformed viewer lacking context from an image of a firearm scope pointed at a child, suddenly makes someone a “virulent anti-semite”?

  • eraserhead12

    whelp, I guess an image that turns a human into target practice isn’t dehumanizing in the least. lesson learned.

    I reiterate, the soldier’s intent is separate from what the image speaks for itself. try not to view the soldier’s actions so literally, and grasp the underlying metaphor here.

  • Lola

    So true. The word “Semitic” is derived from the biblical name Shem. Semites are all peoples that come from the line of Shem…and this includes many Arabs as well. Semantics, semantics…..

  • 9inchnail

    He sees children in his crosshair every day? What does that say about the Israeli army and their campaign in Palestine.

  • Alex

    it’s not a good photo but it’s a powerful image.
    it says a lot on this conflict

  • Psycho

    So this means that he shoot palestinian kids everyday ? And you think there is nothing wrong ? shame on you

  • Amir Asyraf

    Why are we arguing about this? I’m pretty sure we all know about those Israeli bastards brutally murdering innocent lives. Stop trying to deny it and stop supporting them just because they are the close ally of the US and because Hitler killed 6 million of them.

  • Michael Novik

    Those are the same little bastards that regularly throw rocks at the police… And there is a big difference between looking in a scope and shooting!

  • truikos

    And what context is that exactly? You can use the “anti-semite” card all you want, I couldn’t care less. You are the one making a fool out of yourself by doing so.

  • Mihai

    a photographer be objective in judgment ?

    Why don’t you leave the comments to the
    non-photographers ?

    Everyone is sooo off-topic, except the guy mentioning
    Hitler – he was an artist (painter) at some point

    Simply said, humanity is not ready for objective thinking – that’s why we have wars, that’s why we have crappy political comments like on this page.

    Oh well, we’re doomed.