Ynet obtained on Thursday video footage documenting the reported abuse of younger soldiers in the IDF's Givati Brigade's Tzabar Battalion. According to suspicions, senior soldiers beat their comrades, who were new to the battalion, with rods and hurled insults at them over a long period of time.
The video footage showed the younger troops "standing trial" in front of the veteran soldiers, who gave their comrades a minute each to beat the young soldiers. Meanwhile, other soldiers are heard in the background laughing and hurling curses.
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According to the testimonies given to Military police, the four defendants claimed that the abuse was "with the soldiers' consent" and that such actions are "a deeply-rooted practice in the army."
Justice Colonel Erez Porat, of the Southern Command and Ground Forces' military court, said there was sufficient evidence linking the suspects to the incidents.
"Soldiers from the unit described a code of silence due to fears of reprisals from the more senior combatants – some of this is due to shame," he said, adding that the practice must be "uprooted."
Watch abuse of Givati soldiers
"After watching the video footage documenting the abuse, I'm overwhelmed with disgust. These actions are offensive and humiliating. I fail to agree with the veteran soldiers' claim that the abuse was consensual," he said.
The IDF Prosecution filed Sunday an indictment against four soldiers from the Brigade's Tzabar Battalion. The charges against the soldiers' include conduct unbecoming a soldier and aggravated abuse.
Military Police will continue investigating the case over the next few says, due to the overflow of testimonies and complaints that are surfacing.
Military Police arrested two additional soldiers from Givati Brigade's Tzabar Battalion on Tuesday, bringing the total number of suspects to 11.
The alleged incidents took place some four months ago, but the younger soldiers were apparently afraid to lodge a complaint. Earlier this week one of them informed his commanders of the alleged abuse. Signs of violence were found on some of the complainants' bodies.
According to the indictment, the defendants repeatedly forced the younger soldiers to climb 320 steps in the snow while carrying a sack filled with sand on their backs.
Attorney Ilan Katz, who is representing one of the defendants, told Ynet that "abuse in the IDF is a widespread phenomenon" and that "the commanding officers should be charged - not the soldiers."