The Movement for Quality Government demanded on Sunday that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon reinstate the deputy battalion commander of the Givati Brigade’s Tzabar battalion, who was removed from his post after reporting suspicions that his superior was guilty of sexual harassment.
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In its letter, the movement called for Ya’alon to “Immediately intervene and defend Maj. B, an outstanding officer who was removed from his post only because he dared to blow the whistle and report improper behavior in his unit.”
Maj. B. had reported that his commanding officer, Lt. Co. Liran Hajbi, was suspected of sexual harassment and indecent assault. He was then removed from his post for alleged “disloyalty.”
The movement argued that the military establishment must promote integrity and reporting requirements, making the dismissal of Maj. B “like posting a flashing stop sign in front of any soldier or officer who in the future might think of reporting improper behavior that they’ve witnessed, since they will know that reporting it is liable to cost them their job and further military advancement.” The movement characterized B’s dismissal as “firing a whiste-blower.”
Ya’alon addressed the case during an event yesterday in Be’er Sheva, saying, “What’s happening now with the events in the Givati Brigade is making me worried. The chief of general staff as well.”Ya’alon also referred to Givati Brigade commander Ofer Winter’s being questioned under caution by the Military Police, saying, “The conduct of the brigade commander is being examined, whether he knew or didn’t know. I suggest that we let the investigation be completed and then we will know to take the right steps. What clearly emerges from this event is that it is an exception in the Israel Defense Forces.”
B. had been the deputy commander of the Tzabar battalion only a short time before he was exposed to conduct in his unit that he thought improper. Hajbi is suspected of sexually harassing female soldiers subordinate to him and obstructing justice, for allegedly telling a subordinate to give false testimony.
B. reported these things to Winter, and Winter allegedly responded by telling B. that he didn’t understand his mission as deputy battalion commander. According to the testimony, when Winter seemed uninterested in investigating the claims of sexual harassment, B. told him that these were “the codes of a crime organization.”
After B. was removed from his post for “disloyalty,” he was reassigned to a position as project manager in the Infantry Corps.