Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris resigned from the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday following his indictment a week and a half ago on sexual charges including three counts of rape, allegedly committed against a female soldier.
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The IDF Spokesman said Buchris had approached Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot seeking to resign immediately so that he can deal with the legal proceedings against him as a civilian and not an army officer. Eisenkot granted the request and discharged Buchris on Sunday.
For his part, through his lawyers, Buchris issued a statement saying in part: "I am freeing myself for the war of my life. I am innocent and will fight for my good name and my innocence," and adding: "I am proud of my military service and hope to return to contribute to my country after my acquittal."
His resignation before the trial has possible economic benefits. By resigning, Buchris avoids the possibility that if convicted, his sentence would have demoted him, thus damaging his pension. The IDF rarely takes away or damage officers' pensions directly. However, a committee headed by the chief of staff can order to do so, depending on the approval of the defense minister.
Buchris is charged with a total of 16 counts, including rape, sodomy, indecent acts and unbecoming conduct. The alleged acts were said to have been committed against the female soldier, who has been identified only as A. as well as a female army officer identified as L., both of whom served under his command.
With regard to A., the lower-ranking soldier, Buchris is accused of three counts of rape, an act of sodomy and six indecent acts. He is also charged with six indecent acts against L. The offenses are said to have been committed in Buchris' office, in his military vehicle, at an army camp, in his residential quarters and at several other locations. One of the offenses is said to have been committed after he was promoted to brigadier general.
Two days after the filing of the indictment, Channel 2 reported that he had admitted to military investigators that he had kissed L., but he said it was not against her will. As a formal matter, he is maintaining his innocence with regard to all of the charges.
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 most recently served as head of the IDF’s Command and Staff College. He had been due to head the IDF's Operations Division.
Reacting to Buchris' resignation from the IDF, L.'s lawyer, Guy Flanter, said the resignation was the appropriate thing for a person of his status to do. "Without connection to the results of the criminal proceeding," Flanter said, Buchris should be given credit for taking the step.