Female Israeli Soldier Jailed After Reporting Rape, Not Returning From Sick Leave

Channel 2 website's report on scandal leads to IDF soldier's release.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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women soldiers
Women soldiers are increasingly being incorporated into IDF combat units.Credit: Michal Fattal
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

A soldier who reported being raped was sent to prison when she didn’t return to base from sick leave, Channel 2 News’s website reported on Wednesday.

The soldier, stationed in a base in the south, reported she had been raped in a club some three weeks ago while on vacation. Her commanders were briefed and she was given sick leave.

The soldier did not return when her leave concluded, claiming she was in distress, and was AWOL for five days. For this she was tried and sentenced to 10 days in military prison.

The soldier’s aunt told Channel 2 News’ website that the soldier was in mental distress and unable to leave her room. The aunt said one of the soldier’s commanders had told her “she’s in prison because she went missing from military service.”

The aunt said “but she’s missing because something happened to her.” The commander responded: “I won’t say more than that.”

Following the report, the IDF decided to release the soldier from prison immediately. The director of the Authority for the Advancement of Women’s Status in the Prime Minister’s Office, Vered Swid, demanded that the soldiers’ commanders be tried for neglect of duty because they “ignored the soldier’s mental state after the trauma she had undergone.”

“Someone must take responsibility for this failing,” Swid said. “I’ve never encountered such insensitivity, obtuseness, abuse and looking the other way.”

The IDF spokesman said “ground forces commander Maj. Gen. Guy Zur discussed the soldier’s pardon request and accepted it. The soldier will be released. She will continue to be under her commanders’ care and receive all the assistance she needs.”

Asked if the army would take measures against the soldiers’ commanders, or hold talks about handling rape complaints, the spokesman told Haaretz that the incident will be looked into, including the commanders’ conduct.

About two years ago the IDF set up a rape crisis center to take care of soldier victims – both male and female – regardless of whether they were attacked in a military environment or a civilian one.

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