Erez Efrati, a former bodyguard to the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, presented a new version of what happened during the incident for which he was convicted of attempted sodomy during a hearing yesterday on his appeal. He also expressed regret for his actions.
A district court sentenced him to eight years in prison, but he has asked the Supreme Court to reduce the sentence.
At yesterday's hearing, Efrati claimed he had thought the complainant was a terrorist and acted in accordance with his professional training.
"I passed a shadowy figure and I felt my pulse in my throat as the figure moved to my side," he said. "The figure entered the car and I flew at this figure, pulling the keys out of the ignition as in my military training, fearfully. I behaved as if she were a terrorist."
Efrati was convicted in a plea bargain of attempted sodomy, assault and causing bodily harm for attacking the complainant after a stag party at the Tel Aviv Port last November. In addition to his jail term, he was fined NIS 20,000 and ordered to pay his victim NIS 150,000 in compensation.
The maximum sentence for attempted sodomy is 16 years in prison.
"I take responsibility for the damage and pain I have caused," he said. "I think about this every day, I know she experienced something terrible. Four or five months ago, I began psychological treatment as part of taking responsibility, in order to understand how I reached this state. My life was completely overturned. Her pain is what is most important, and I am trying to comprehend."
Justice Edmond Levy, who headed the panel hearing the appeal, told Efrati, "You are trying to rebuild your life. But there is someone whose life was destroyed, and it is uncertain whether she can be healed."
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