Israeli Military Chief Rescinds Promotion of General Accused of Rape

The IDF will soon name a replacement for Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris for the sensitive job of operations division chief in the general staff.

A file photo of Ofek Buchris, 2010.
Hagai Ofan

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot decided on Wednesday to rescind Brig. Gen. Ofek Buchris's appointment as operations division chief for the general staff.

Buchris was questioned on Wednesday by military police investigators for a third time since being accused of serious sexual offenses, including the rape of a woman subordinate. His suspension from all duties has also been extended for another 30 days.

Eisenkot's reached his decision in consultation with IDF Advocate General, Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek.

The IDF will soon decide on a replacement for Buchris. Eisenkot informed Buchris of his decision on Wednesday. An IDF officer explained the decision as unrelated to the particular details of the investigation but rather due to the fact that legal proceedings were under way.

"Ofek has many attributes, but the facts must be brought to light and  an understanding of what occurred," a senior IDF officer said.

"The job of operations chief is an important one," the officer said. "You cannot name him under such circumstances because such incidents drag on.

"The IDF will name an operations division chief and law enforcement authorities will continue to check the incident and deal with it, and uncover the truth," the officer said.

The chief military defense attorney representing Buchris, reservist Gen. Asher Halperin said: "An investigation such as that being conducted against Brig. Gen. Buchris naturally takes time. On this background, and so the chief of staff made clear in his conversation with Brig. Gen. Buchris, it is difficult to wait any length of time for someone to fill the role of operations chief, a central and sensitive post."

"Brig. Gen. Buchris told the chief of staff he understands the decision. I stress that it was also made clear in their talk, that the chief of staff's decision was due only to the time issue and the expected duration of the investigation."