Israeli battalion commander has been removed over allegations that he has sexually harassed Israeli soldiers

December 25, 2014 2:13 pm

An Israeli battalion commander has been removed over
allegations that he has sexually harassed Israeli soldiers.The chief of
staff of the Israeli military, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, said on
Thursday that Lieutenant Colonel Liran Hajbi, the commander of the
Givati Brigade’s 432nd Tzabar battalion, had been dismissed.Hajbi’s
removal came after Israel’s Ground Arm Command (known by the acronym GOC
in Hebrew) Southern Command Sami Turgeman instructed Gantz to do so.
Hajbi
is suspected of sexual harassment of both male and female soldiers and
compelling one of his subordinates to give false testimony regarding his
indecent behavior.

Lieutenant Colonel Liran Hajbi (L),
Israel’s GOC Southern Command Sami Turgeman and Lieutenant General Benny
Gantz (R), are seen in the file photo. 

Israel’s military police reportedly concluded the probe into Hajib’s criminal charges following the testimony. Reports, however, said that the military police will continue the investigation into the case.

Hajbi was recently on a 10-day leave and requested Turgeman to extend the leave till the investigations by the military police are completed.

A report in February, 2014 revealed that one of every eight women serving in the Israeli military has suffered sexual abuse in 2013, also showing a rise in sexual harassment against Israeli male soldiers.

Brigadier General Rachel Tevet-Wiesel, an advisor to the Israeli army’s chief of staff on women’s affairs, made the revelation in the report sent to a parliamentary committee.

Tevet-Wiesel’s report indicated that the number of soldiers, male and female, who reported sexual harassment rose to at least 561 in 2013, from 511 in the previous year.

Forty-nine percent of the reported incidents were said to be physical, while the rest were described as verbal harassment.

Four percent of the cases ended in rape. This is while the majority of women subject to sexual misconduct have never reported the issue.

An additional 396 cases reportedly took place while the soldiers were under civilian circumstances — a meaningful rise from 266 cases in 2012.

Men accounted for nine percent of the victims, a five percent increase in comparison with 2012, where the figure stood at four percent.

The issue of sexual misconduct in the Israeli army has given rise to heated debates over the past year, mainly following the convictions of two high-ranking officers for assaulting women soldiers.

The officers were both sentenced to community service.

The ruling sparked criticism by Israeli MPs, who said they were disconcerted by the leniency.

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