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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 November, 2004, 15:24 GMT
Nude Israeli commandos face sack
Snow on the Golan Heights
The men posed naked in the snow on the Golan Heights
Six Israeli commandos may be sacked after a photo of them posing naked was published in a national newspaper.

The men photographed themselves standing in the winter snow during a trip to the Golan Heights, but were also snapped by a press photographer.

Their commander was outraged and said his men would be fired for shaming the prestigious naval elite unit.

But there was widespread sympathy for the men. Their parents said it was merely a prank by veteran servicemen.

All the men had been in the unit for five years, and were due to be discharged in February.

Unit tradition

They were not named, and their faces were blurred in the newspaper picture, because it is forbidden to identify troops in elite units.

The men's modesty was covered, too, as they stood with their hands cupped over their private parts.

The unit commander was furious, summoning the six and telling them they would be expelled from the army, military officials said.

The men's parents defended them, saying they risked their lives daily for Israel.

"I am shocked by the lack of proportions," the father of one of the soldiers told Israel Radio.

"We are talking about the best of the youth. They did not choose an easy or comfortable service. In the last few years they have buried a number of their friends," he said.

Posing naked in the open air is reportedly a tradition in the unit, which displays the consequent photos around its headquarters.

Military officials said the final decision on whether the men would be sacked rested with the head of the navy and the chief of staff.

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