IDF Commander Reprimanded for Handling of Givati Brigade Sex Scandal

IDF stresses Col. Ofer Winter acted professionally, morally and sharply, but chastises him for failing to follow procedure.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Col. Ofer Winter, left, with GOC Southern Command Sami Turgeman.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The Israeli military's Southern Command will give the commander of the Givati Brigade a black mark on his record for his handling of an alleged sex scandal in his command, a report by GOC Southern Command head Sami Turgeman recommended.

The Givati Affair, as it was called by Israeli media, concerns Givati battalion commander Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi, who is suspected of indecency, sexual harassment, and obstructing an investigation.

Turgeman's report was presented to Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz on Friday. The IDF's Spokesperson's Unit stated that Hajbi's commanding officer, Givati Commander Col. Ofer Winter, will be chastised for not following the proper procedure for incident of this kind.

The statement did not clarify which procedures Winter failed to follow, but most likely these refer to Winter's not reporting the suspicions of sexual harassment to the Military Police.

The IDF statement said that the involvement of Turgeman and Winter was "professional, moral and sharp" and that the probe could not find any evidence of Winter hiding information or giving false reports concerning the incident.

Gantz said in a meeting with Winter that in this incident, procedures should have been followed. The IDF also said that the chief of staff has instructed IDF units to review the procedures for such incidents, and make sure they are followed impeccably.

The IDF also stated that the chief of staff and the Southern Command's head "express their full trust in the Givati Brigade and its commander, Col. Ofer Winter."

Last week, Gantz removed Hajbi from his command. The Military Police investigation into the affair is still ongoing.