IDF Chief Sacks Battalion Commander Suspected of Sexual Harassment

Military police will continue investigation into possible criminal charges against Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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All's not well in the Givati Brigade. From left: Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi, GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman and Givati Brigade commander Col. Ofer Winter.
All's not well in the Givati Brigade. From left: Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi, GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman and Givati Brigade commander Col. Ofer Winter.Credit: IDF Spokesperson
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz on Thursday removed a battalion commander suspected of indecency, sexual harassment, and obstructing an investigation.

The IDF chief's decision was made upon recommendation by GOC Southern Command Sami Turgeman. The IDF said that the actions of the commander in question, Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi of the Givati Brigade's 432nd Tzabar battalion, were incompatible with the accepted IDF behaviors and norms.

Meanwhile, the military police will continue its investigation into possible criminal charges. Hajbi recently took a 10-day leave at his own request, and subsequently requested that Turgeman extend his leave until the military police complete its investigation.

In addition to suspicions of committing an indecent act and of sexual harassment of both male and female soldiers, Hajbi is thought to have pressured his subordinate to give false testimony.

The military advocate general closed a case that had been opened against Hajbi's superior, Givati commander Col. Ofer Winter, regarding several incidents that allegedly took place in his brigade's 432nd Tzabar battalion.

The military police summoned Winter last week for questioning under caution, on suspicion that he had not reported complaints and allegations involving Hajbi and thus disrupted the criminal investigation of the incident.

Chief Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Danny Efroni and his associates decided over the course of their investigation Winter did not deliberately try to sabotage the inquiry, and therefore concluded the probe quickly, without beginning criminal proceedings.

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