The IDF Prosecution filed Sunday an indictment against four soldiers from the Givati Brigade's Tzabar Battalion. According to the charges, a rooky soldier insulted a senior soldier while making tea and became a target for abuse by a group of senior soldiers in the brigade.
In the events last December, one of the defendants told the soldier to take off his clothes and together with three other soldiers gave him "a seniority trial". Later, the indictment said, the soldier was beaten with large rods used to hold up targets in shooting practice. The rods were broken from the blows.
After the "trial" was over the soldier suffered from severe pain and could not apply any pressure on his right hand.
"For purpose of pride"
The four indictments were filed with the Castina military court, after the affair was uncovered by Israel Radio. Nine suspects from the operational Tzabar Battalion were arrested so far. The battalion is operating near the Lebanon border.
In a separate incident at a base in the Hermon area, a rooky soldier was severely beaten in a similar manner for refusing to wash dishes without rolling up his sleeves – a "privilege" reserved only for senior soldiers.
One of the senior soldiers who was in the room but did not take part in the abuse was indicted for not preventing abuse. His attorney, Ilan Katz, told Ynet that such acts are very common. "The right way to treat is not with prosecution, but with education and raising awareness," he said.
Katz added that if abuse in the IDF is in fact such a widespread phenomenon, the commanding officers should be charged, not the soldiers. Some of the accused soldiers have already been incarcerated after standing trial within their units. However, due to the large number of testimonies, Military Police decided to get involved and made several arrests.
The mother of one of the accused soldiers said her son "gave everything to the country" for three years.
"The violence was part of their pride," she said, insisting her son is being used as a scapegoat. "When he was a rookie, he too returned home with beating marks, and nobody was prosecuted," she added.
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