soldier serving in an Engineering Corps battalion in the Northern Command
was sentenced to 40 days in a military prison and another 30 days of working in an army facility after he was convicted of threatening his commander, who holds the rank of captain, with a loaded assault rifle.
The soldier was convicted as part of a plea bargain that was recently authorized by a military court in Haifa.
The incident took place about a month ago at the unit's base in the north, after the soldier refused to be tried by the battalion commander for going AWOL. According to the indictment, the soldier, who has verbally attacked his commanders in the past, threw a fit in the company commander's office, shattered a window and hurled insults at the battalion commander, who was in the room. The soldier cursed other officers and threatened to stab them.
He then ran to one of the rooms in the base, grabbed an M16 assault rifle, inserted the cartridge into the rifle and cocked it. The soldier threatened to shoot the company commander, who rushed to room, and pointed the rifle at him from a meter and a half away. The company commander urged him to "calm down and put the weapon away," but he complied only after another commander entered the room and ordered him to put the rifle down.
During his interrogation by Military Police the soldier admitted to some of the allegations and explained that he felt threatened. He claimed that he was taken into the company commander's room by force after he refused to be tried by his commanders. The commanders claimed the soldier was offered the opportunity to stand trial before the brigade commander.
The soldier's attorney, Benny Kuznitz, struck a deal with the prosecution on an amended indictment and the soldier was charged only with illegal use of a weapon.
In addition to the prison sentence, the soldier was demoted to the rank of private and fined NIS 300 ($80).