The social media director of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) has been forced to restrict his Facebook following accusations of racism after he posted a picture with his face covered in mud alongside the caption "Obama style".
Sacha Dratwa, originally from Belgium and now a lieutenant in the Israeli army, uploaded the picture on to the social network in September. However, the post came to prominence over the weekend, following Dratwa’s work during the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas.
After a raft of criticism for the "racist" image, Dratwa responded by accusing his critics of "publicly misrepresenting" his opinions.
"I am, and have always been, completely candid about my beliefs and have nothing to hide," he said, after he restricted public access to his profile.
“The aforementioned photos do not reflect my beliefs and have no bearing whatsoever on my position in the IDF,” he added.
The fresh post was met with another torrent of criticism.
Galina Vaks posted: “Wow. Your own photos do not represent you??? If you have nothing to hide, why do you hide?”
Sam Williams posted: This guy is racist, simple as, and no amount of hiding photos is going to cover that up.”
Daniel Von Malyon posted: “Why even post the pic when you work in the position you are. If a Hamas spokesman dressed as a Hasidic Jew and put the tagline "Israeli style" you would be milking it for publicity and calling them out on racism.”
Dratwa, who immigrated to Israel eight years ago, currently works as a spokesperson for the IDF on matters of new media.
His post in not the first social media faux pas for the IDF. Following last week’s ceasefire, Israeli soldiers expressed their annoyance by lying on the ground to spell out "Bibi Is A Loser" - using the nickname for Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu.
The picture was posted on hundreds of Facebook and Twitter profiles, garnering similar outrage.