Former Gaza division commander demoted
Military court judges sentence Brigadier-General Moshe Tamir to probation, demotion to colonel for letting his 14-year-old son drive army-issued ATV, covering up for him following accident. Military Advocate General orders probe into possible mishandling of original investigation by Military Police
The officer was also sentenced to three months probation. His lawyer plans to appeal the decision.
The judges said in their ruling that Tamir had "damaged the value of reliability and breached a code of truth. The conduct of the case's investigators was also criticized: "There are strong doubts that a profound investigation took place, and if this is true, this is a real earthquake."
Tamir's defense counsel, Attorney Moshe Israel, said that he planned to appeal the sentence. "This is a serious blow to the army and it must not accept this," he said. "The sentence is wrong and filled with contradictions."
He added that "the punishment is more serious than in previous cases, in which investigation procedures were disrupted, while here there was no such disruption. We hope the appeals court will overthrow the decision."
The panel of judges, headed by Brigadier-General Avi Levi, ruled that the officer damaged a protected social value and a protected military value. "The defendant gave his minor son, who is unauthorized to drive a vehicle of any type, the option to drive an ATV. This reckless act bears real dangers to the lives and wellbeing of people, including the defendant's own son…
"His behavior undermines one of the basic values the army relies on, personal reliability, telling the truth. The code of truth is an integral value which cannot be crossed and split into segments," the judges said.
They added that the claim that this was a one-time failure was unacceptable, as the same conduct was expressed several days later, although the officer could have used judgment: "He failed time after time."
Investigation into the investigation
Meanwhile the Military Advocate General has ordered an investigation into the conduct of the Investigative Military Police.
Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit ordered the probe into the Military Police's conduct during their investigation of Tamir after the legal proceedings against him concluded.
The decision to launch the probe follows the harsh criticism against the verdict, with numerous officials saying the incident should have been treated as a criminal offense rather than a routine traffic accident.
Mendelblit's decision echoes the question voiced in the wording of the verdict itself, which posited that such an inquiry should have been launched several months ago, when Tamir was first indicted.
Chain of events
The affair began when families of officers in the Gaza Division were invited to a social event. Tamir's son, who drove a military ATV without a license, crashed into a civilian vehicle and caused damage.
The driver whose car was hit received the officers' details and demanded compensation for the repair. Brigadier-General Tamir paid him and the vehicle was taken to a militart garage.
The officer only reported the accident to the IDF after learning that the damage caused was bigger than he first thought. According to some claims, he even tried to change the name of the driver in the accident report to his own, instead of reporting that his minor son was the one behind the wheel.
Before his verdict was read, the former Gaza Division commander gave his version to the affair. "My instinct was to defend my son. I made a serious mistake and I take responsibility for it," he said.