An INF missile boat's crew stationed in Haifa suspended routine operations for several hours, and several of its members attempted to leave the base, in protest over the expulsion of four veteran soldiers from the unit, Ynet learned Monday.
The four soliders who were expelled are still set to face disciplinary hearings over what the IDF said was the repeated and serious hazing of new recruits.
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The soldiers' comrades were later convinced to reconsider their actions and eventually resumed their duties. The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stressed that none of the servicemen left the base.
The team was performing maintenance on a ship set to take part in a maritime training exercise scheduled to take place in the coming weeks. Work was suspended for the time of the incident, but was later resumed.
'Navy looking for scapegoats'
The family members of the soldiers suspended over conduct unbecoming told Ynet that the INF was seeking "scapegoats" after it became clear that veteran soldiers serving on the ship are virtually exempt from tasks considered "menial labor," which are performed almost exclusively by the new recruits.
"Three of the four soldiers suspended have been serving in combat roles for over two years and have no records of any disciplinary problems," a relative of one of the soldiers told Ynet.
"They arrived on the base after weekend leave and were called in to see their commanding officer. He informed them that the decision to suspend them had already been made, that 'This isn't a dialogue – it's a monologue' and that they were suspended. They were in shock," she said.
According to family members, over the past few years, the four had taken part in numerous INF operations. "This is a highly controversial – not to mention, disgraceful – decision," one relative said.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement that, "The four soldiers in question are facing disciplinary proceedings since their behavior towards new recruits was in violation of military ethics. The IDF treats such cases with all due severity and on a case-by-case merit."
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