Israel's Military Proudly Posts Photo of Two Soldiers Holding Hands

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com June 12 2012 2:15 PM ET

Israel's military posted a photo to its official Facebook account that may be a first for any fighting force.

"It's Pride Month," the caption reads, from the Israel Defense Forces. "Did you know that the IDF treats all of its soldiers equally?"

The photo from Monday shows two male soldiers walking together, holding hands. And it already has more than 8,000 likes, 6,000 shares and more than 1,000 comments because of the inevitable controversy.

The IDF has allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly since 1993, when it passed an anti-discrimination policy. That's the same year that "don't ask, don't tell" was signed into law in the United States.

The Times of Israel established that the photo was staged as part of a shoot for the military, and that only one of the men in the image is actually gay. That has some in the comments calling it "pink washing," a term used to describe using pro-equality stances to overshadow the ongoing conflict with Palestinians.

“The photo reflects the IDF’s open minded attitude towards soldiers of all sexual orientations," a military spokesman told the Times. "The IDF respects the privacy of the soldiers featured in the photograph, and will not comment on their identities.”

(RELATED: Check Out Photos from a Huge Pride Celebration in Tel Aviv)