'Militarising Christmas': Israeli army slammed over 'repugnant' Twitter post
The Israeli army has been slammed for a 'Christmas' themed Twitter post in which it celebrated the festive period by baking a F-35 fighter-jet made from gingerbread.
In the 30-second video, a group of Israeli soldiers, some of whom are wearing military-style clothing, can be seen decorating the F-35 jet with sweets, chocolates and Oreo cookies.
The video, which has an acapella-style song playing throughout, ends with a soldier holding up the jet as the text 'Happy Holidays' fill the screen.
Many Twitter users denounced the post, saying not only did it contradict the values of Christmas, it also went against the core tenets of Christianity.
"Nothing says happy birthday to the prince of peace like a fighter jet," wrote one Twitter user.
"Did you make little blown-up gingerbread Palestinians too, or is it too hard to make so many?" another asked.
"Jesus was big into bombing the poor, refugees, and the dispossessed. Thanks for that inspirational Christian message. I am inspired to go kick the s**t out of someone, preferably a non-English speaker with dark skin," one wrote sarcastically.
"This is repugnant," tweeted another.
Israel has said it has 16 of the fifth-generation stealth aircraft in its arsenal, which can avoid radar and surface-to-air missiles.
At a price of about $100m each, the single-pilot jets can carry an array of weapons and can reach supersonic speeds of Mach 1.6, or about 1,900 kilometres per hour.
Timing of the post
The Israeli army posted the video just hours after it admitted that a raid last month that killed nine members of a family was a "mistake".
Nine members of the al-Sawarka family were killed by attacks on their home - two shacks covered with corrugated metal sheets - in the southern Gaza Strip.
Five of the victims were children.
"I was sleeping when the house was bombarded," 11-year-old Diyaa Rasmi al-Sawarka, one of the survivors, told Middle East Eye at the time.
"I tried to run away but my foot was stuck under the rubble. I started screaming but no one heard me, all my family members were under the rubble."
The Gaza Strip is just one of the focal points in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
More than two million Palestinians are believed to live in the Gaza Strip, a territory the size of the US city of Detroit that has been described as "the world's largest open-air prison".
Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the Strip since 2007, after Hamas won a Palestinian legislative election there a year earlier.
Israel holds Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, responsible for all rockets fired from the small coastal enclave, even though other armed factions also operate in the area.
Gaza experienced its most significant conflict in 2014, when at least 2,251 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. At least 66 Israeli soldiers and six civilians also lost their lives.
In 2012, the United Nations warned that Gaza would become unlivable by 2020. Watch this video to learn more about the deteriorating situation there: