Charges, Sentences Reduced for Two Israeli Sailors Accused of Raping Fellow Sailor

In plea bargain, sailors will confess to lesser charge of indecent assault and be sentenced to time served

Female Israeli combat soldiers prepare for training at an IDF base in Petah Tikvah, Israel on April 26, 2017.

Two Israel Navy sailors who were charged with raping a female sailor on their base will be convicted instead of indecent assault, in a plea bargain.

In the amended charge sheet, the rape charge was replaced with a indecent assault. Prosecutors will request a custodial sentence of eight to nine months, which the sailors have already served in military prison.

The amended indictment says that one evening in late March the defendants, who served in administrative positions, met the victim for the first time while giving her and a few of her friends a ride in a military vehicle. During the trip the female soldier gave her telephone number to one of the defendants.

At around 1 A.M. the defendants collected the victim from her home and drove to another part of the camp. The three sat in the car and chatted, and then the defendants sexually assaulted the female sailor, who tried to resist.

The sailor filed a complaint with the Military Police, which opened an investigation against the two, Sgt. 1st Class Shai Rafailov and Sgt. David Suissa. The first indictment was issued in April.

Tami Olman, a lawyer who represented Suissa with Shadi Sarugi, said in response: "I said from the beginning that the complaint was biased and unrealistic. Fortunately after questioning the complainant and the many contradictions in her versions — the prosecution understood that the right thing to do was to remove the rape charge and minimize the offenses as well as the punishment."