A female Israel Defense Forces officer has alleged that she was sexually harassed by Maj. Gen. Noam Tibon, now commander of the army’s Northern Corps.
The female officer gave evidence on Monday to the Military Police, which is investigating her complaint. Tibon categorically denies the allegation.
According to the officer’s complaint, which was first reported on the Walla website, she was sexually harassed by Tibon about two and a half years ago, when he was a brigadier-general commanding the IDF’s Staff and Command College and she was his bureau chief for a few months.
The woman claims that in one incident the officer grabbed her buttocks when she was giving him forms to sign, while in the other incident Tibon harassed her verbally.
The woman officer reported both incidents during talks with the IDF Personnel Directorate, which was debating the possibility of discharging her before her term of service was up. This, along with the length of time that she claims ensued since the incidents, raises suspicions about the revelations.
Attorney Yoram Mazuz, who represents the female officer, told Haaretz that the woman was an outstanding officer, but since those incidents she had been “tossed from place to place and was not allowed to contend for vacant officers’ positions.”
According to Mazuz, the woman had doubts about filing a complaint, saying she “didn’t know if she had the strength to battle windmills.”
Attorney Eyal Rosofsky, representing Tibon, told Haaretz, “Maj. Gen. Tibon denies any connection to these things and they are totally untrue.”
The claims being made by the woman officer have landed on Tibon “out of nowhere,” and he “didn’t harass the officer and didn’t have any relationship with her other than a professional one,” Rosofsky said.
Tibon had the woman relieved of her duties at the Staff and Command College two and a half years ago for professional reasons, “because her professional behavior didn’t meet the required standards. It seems the officer is now being dismissed … and she is only raising her false claims against Maj. Gen. Tibon now,” Rosofsky said.
“Given the circumstances, it should be clear to anyone with eyes in his head that we’re talking about a female officer driven by improper motivations who is acting in an unacceptable fashion,” the lawyer continued. “Tibon, as in a real Kafkaesque story, must now rebuff serious lies being told by a female officer about things that never happened.”
The female officer is expected to be discharged from the IDF on Thursday, but her attorney has asked the military advocate general not to allow her release until the investigation is completed. Tibon said he would cooperate with any examination needed to clarify the facts.
Statistics presented to the Knesset in the past show that there has been a rise in the number of sexual harassment complaints being filed in the IDF. In 2009 there were 445 complaints, compared to 363 in 2008 and 318 in 2007. Most of the allegations related to incidents on base and concerned physical harassment.
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