Jerusalem gay pride parade
Jerusalem gay pride parade, 2010.
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More than 40 percent of gay and lesbian soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces were sexually harassed during their time in the military, according to a recent study by the Israel Gay Youth organization. The report is based on a sampling of 364 gay and lesbian soldiers currently serving in the IDF or who were discharged over the past year.

Of the sample, 40 percent reported verbal abuse and 4 percent reported physical abuse as well.

According to 45 percent of respondents, homophobic remarks are very frequent or frequent in the units in which they serve or served. Soldiers serving in combat units reported such remarks more frequently - 59 percent said they had heard them.

The study showed that although 63 percent of the sample had come out to their friends in civilian life, only 32 percent had revealed their sexual orientation to their fellow soldiers or to their direct commander.

According to the study, in recent years the IDF has acted extensively to improve service conditions for gay soldiers and increase the awareness of commanders to the issues involved.

The IDF Spokesman's Office responded that since the IDF did not conduct the research, it could not comment on the data. "We will say that any claim of abuse in the IDF is dealt with appropriately. The IDF drafts all candidates who are suitable, regardless of their sexual orientation."