IDF General Indicted for Rape and Indecent Acts

Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris to face charges of rape and sodomy of two female soldiers under his command.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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A file photo of Ofek Buchris, 2010.
A file photo of Ofek Buchris, 2010.Credit: Hagai Ofan
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris, the suspended head of the IDF’s Command and Staff College, was indicted yesterday in a special military court on 16 counts of rape, sodomy and the commission of an indecent act. Two female soldiers under his command were identified as the victims.

At a news conference convened near his home in Mitzpeh Netofa Thursday evening, Buchris called the criminal proceedings against him “the battle of my life,” a battle he said he would win. Deeming the charges totally baseless, he said the truth would come out in court and in public.

He was charged with three counts of rape, one count of sodomy and six indecent acts against a lower-ranking female soldier, identified only by her first initial, A. He is also accused of six indecent acts against a female IDF officer identified as L.

Ofek Buchris.Credit: Gil Eliyahu

Buchris is alleged to have committed the offenses against the women at his office, in his military vehicle, at an army camp, in his living quarters and at several other locations.

One of the offenses was purportedly committed after he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. The first complainant, A., is said to have provided army investigators with the name of L., the second complainant, who is now an IDF major.

The prosecution alleges that Buchris raped A. three times, beginning in April 2011, when she is said to have accompanied him to buy supplies for a weekend stay that he and his family had arranged at a bed-and-breakfast in the north.

It is alleged that on several occasions when A. reported directly to Buchris as a Golani brigade commander, he allegedly called her to his living quarters, undressed her and touched her against her will.

The decision to file the indictment was made by Military Advocate General Sharon Afek following an extensive hearing process. Throughout the process, Buchris denied the allegations against him, but the military prosecution appeared to find his two accusers sufficiently credible to file the charges.

Buchris and his lawyers issued a statement expressing regret over the decision to file the indictment, saying it was fundamentally flawed. “In the hearing process, we presented the military advocate general with serious problems that have arisen for the entire length and breadth of the case. We are certain we will succeed in fighting and proving the innocence of Brig. Gen. Buchris,” they stated.

In previous IDF roles, Buchris headed a division of the Northern Command and the Golani infantry brigade and had been due to head the Operations Division. Buchris, who was seriously wounded in Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank in 2002, was awarded a chief of staff’s citation for his performance as a battalion commander. He is married and a father of six and lives in a religious community in the Galilee.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office issued a statement calling Buchris an officer with much credit to his name. “The military advocate general stated that the decision [to indict Buchris] came with a heavy heart, but in the course of a thorough investigation, evidence surfaced allegedly showing that the officer [Buchris] committed a number of sexual offenses on a low-ranking soldier doing compulsory army service, and against an officer [L.] while the two women were serving under his command as a Golani brigade commander.”

A.’s lawyers, Avital Ben-Nun and Liat Behar-Cohen, welcomed the decision to indict Buchris. “From the moment that we met with the complainant, we had no doubt that she is speaking the truth. We regret the mental anguish that was her lot in recent months following the media spin and the false reports,” they said in a statement, adding that they hope that the filing of the indictment would end the false reports and that justice would prevail in court.

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