Retired IDF General Cites Bible in Defense of Officer Accused of Rape

Brig.-Gen. Ofek Buchris has been charged 16 counts of rape, sodomy and committing an indecent act. His former commander says he's a hero.

A file photo of Ofek Buchris, 2010.
A file photo of Ofek Buchris, 2010. Hagai Ofan

A retired Israeli army general has come out in defense of Brig.-Gen. Ofek Buchris, who has been chraged with raping two of his subordinates

Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, who had served as Buchris' commander, described the defendant as a "hero" and an "icon" in an interview with Army Radio on Friday.

In the interview, Hacohen drew a parallel between Buchris' alleged offenses and the biblical story of King David and Bathsheva. In the story, David takes Bathsheva, a married woman, as a mistress after seeing her bathing on a roof.   

"I'm with the Bible on this," Hacohen said. "David remained the king of Israel, even though there hasn't been a discussion of what had happened with Bathsheba." 

Buchris is "one of the most prominent IDF commanders," Hacohen said. "Every generation has a few heroes and a few prominent [figures], and he is one of them.

"He is also an icon who was faithfully followed by thousands," the retired general said. "He's got the touch. He did beautiful and great things."

The day after the interview, Hacohen said that he didn't mean that officers may take advantage of their female subordinates.

Buchris, the suspended head of the IDF’s Command and Staff College, was indicted on Thursday in a special military court on 16 counts of rape, sodomy and the commission of an indecent act. Two female soldiers under his command were identified as the victims.

Meanwhile, the lawyers of a one the soldiers allegedly raped by Buchris said they are planning to file a police complaint after their client's photo was shared on social media by the general's supporters.

Knesset Member Zehava Galon on Saturday called on the attorney general to demand that the police find the person who distributed the photos and prosecute him.

"This is an attempt to deter the complainant and other complainants [from coming forward] in the future," Galon said.