Shocking new evidence has emerged in connection with an abuse case involving IDF armored corps troops and commanders.
"All the soldiers stood in one row and lifted up their shirts, while the staff was yelling 'cowards, no-goods, you're worth nothing.' The commanders would start beating us, slapping us, and whipping us. The pains were terrible," one abuse victim told Ynet Saturday.
The story, first reported by Ynet on Friday, involved a hazing ceremony where soldiers were beaten by other servicemen, to the point of suffering substantial bruising and scarring. The event, described as extremely violent, was apparently sanctioned by the company commander, though he did not participate in it personally. The commander has since been dismissed.
Troops beaten up by commanders
As it turns out now, squad commanders initiated hazing ceremonies on at least two occasions: At the end of training, and upon receiving sergeant ranks.
"Commanders simply beat us for half an hour," one of the soldiers subjected to the abuse told Ynet. "Those were terrible blows, which had to be sustained silently. Everyone got beaten up, because the commanders wanted to see blood."
According to the soldier, commanders beat up the troops using various objects, in order to leave visible marks on their bodies, as shown in the photograph.
"We couldn't see, but we felt that they were whipping us with some kind of object," he said.
At the end of the last hazing ceremony, 20 soldiers were sporting the shocking evidence of the abuse they suffered: Red marks on their backs, bruises, and sharp pain. However, troops did not dare speak up during the incident, as not to be portrayed as weak, the soldier said.
The conspiracy of silence prompted most abused soldiers to keep the story to themselves; many parents are still unaware of the horrific experiences their sons went through.
"We felt humiliated, embarrassed, and bitter because of this despicable treatment," the abused soldier said. "The staff was laughing and disparaging us while beating us up. That night I heard my friends' sighs of pain, but in the morning nobody dared say they are hurting – yet their faces said it all."
The hazing ceremony, held 10 days ago, was the second one experienced by the soldier and his comrades since they joined the army. Last year they were the victims of similar abuse, he says.
"Last time one of the soldiers approached senior commanders, but nothing was done about it," he said. "This time around it seems they handled it well. The commanders mysteriously disappeared, they didn't explain anything to us, and we got new commanders."
Military officials say that the incident was probed in depth after it came to the army's attention. "There is no room for such things in the IDF. We won't let such things repeat," one officer said.