Israeli Commander Charged With Sexual Harassment of Female Soldier

Number of complaints filed within army on the rise with 667 soldiers reporting they were sexually assaulted or harassed in 2014.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Women soldiers in the IDF.
Women soldiers in the IDF.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

A first lieutenant in the Israel Defense Forces has been charged with sexually harassing a female soldier under his command.

In addition to sexual harassment, the lieutenant was charged with ordinary harassment, sexual harassment and conduct unbecoming an officer.

The officer, who serves on the Lebanese border, repeatedly asked a soldier serving in the outpost he commanded to have sex with him, the indictment said. He also questioned her about her sex life.

After she had refused several times to sleep with him, he took her cellphone and refused to return it “until you give me a kiss, two minutes at least.” Then, when the soldier grabbed her cellphone back and tried to leave, the officer barred her way, saying he would let her pass “if you give me a goodnight kiss.”

In a more serious indictment filed a week ago, a sergeant was charged with raping, sodomizing and sexually assaulting a female soldier, as well as trying to persuade her not to file a complaint against him.

The sergeant, also stationed up north, took the soldier to an isolated building on the outpost where they served, the indictment said. He kissed her, patted her behind and then sodomized and raped her.

That was the third time in the last four months that a male soldier has been suspected of raping a female one.

According to IDF data, the number of sexual harassment complaints filed within the army has risen over the last few years. In 2014, 667 soldiers complained of having been sexually assaulted or harassed within their units, up from 561 the previous year.