An Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer who has been convicted of raping a Palestinian woman, bribery and fraud had appeared before a court martial in the past for sexually harassing female soldiers subordinate to him but was ultimately allowed to keep his post, Ynet learned on Thursday.
An IDF Manpower Directorate document seen by Ynet reveals that the disgraced officer was almost dismissed from military service following two incidents in which he sexually harassed female soldiers.
He was convicted of both charges but managed to convince the court's judge advocate to keep him in the military by presenting letters of recommendation and other accolades he received during his service.
Other accusations against the officer surfaced during the court hearing, including a 2005 incident in which he slapped a female soldier across the face, another in which he allegedly offered a female soldier to "share a bed with him" and in one instance, watched pornographic films with soldiers subordinate to him.
The officer was also reportedly implicated in three other incidents "of a sexual nature, including verbal and even physical harassment", but was not prosecuted for them.
The officer claimed in his defense that the incidents had not been investigated and that the details were inaccurate and blown out of proportion.
He began perpetrating the offenses for which he was ultimately convicted mere months after he was allowed to stay in the military.
The officer committed the acts during his service in the Civil Administration — a governmental body that oversees Israel's civilian policy in the West Bank — between the years 2013–2015 and was convicted in 2016 as published by Ynet on Wednesday.
He was charged with raping a Palestinian woman who appealed for a work permit in Israel. According to the indictment bill, he contacted the woman on multiple occasions and made repeated suggestions of sexual encounters. He threatened to take away her permits if she divulged his actions to anyone.
He was also found guilty of having sex with another Palestinian woman on three different occasions in exchange for work permits, as well as sexual harassment of a Palestinian man, with whom he sought intimate encounters.
The officer denied the allegations, but the court ruled that his versions of events were unreliable.
The officer, whose name and picture remain under a gag order, was convicted in 2016 and sentenced to 11 years in prison with time served, plus probation. He was also discharged from the military but was later readmitted after appealing his sentence and demoted to the rank of private.
This is one of the heaviest penalties imposed on an IDF officer in the Israeli military's history.
The IDF in response said the affair is "one of the most serious cases brought before the military tribunals, and the sentence imposed [on the officer] befits the actions of the accused."