According to testimonies, the company commander, a captain, would often swear at and humiliate his subordinates. "It was a habit for him to swear at his soldiers," one soldier said. "He even threw stones and hit a soldier in the back with a stick during one of the exercises."
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The commander was reprimanded by Golani Brigade commander Colonel Yaniv Asor and will step down as company commander in a month. The company's sergeant major was also punished. Earlier this year, a sergeant from the company was dismissed for using a stapler against a soldier.
According to the testimonies, soldiers were forced to swallow mustard while on guard duty, and were punished for showering by having detergent and bleach thrown at them.
Company's base in northern Israel (Photo: Avihu Shapira)
"When veteran soldiers set rules that humiliate you on the one hand, and your company commander scares you to death on the other, it feels like you're living in the underworld," one soldier said. "We're an excellent company on the professional level, but we abide by delinquent codes."
A top military official told Ynet that junior commanders were given special guidelines following the affair.
It has since been revealed that several weeks ago soldiers from the company sent the battalion commander a letter describing the humiliation they have been subjected to.
The battalion commander met with the soldiers but took no disciplinary measures. "The battalion commander received the letter but after talking to the soldiers got the impression that things had worked out," a senior officer in the brigade said.
According to soldiers' testimonies, the abuse was also related to seniority issues. New combatants were forced to follow a line of arbitrary sanctions imposed on them by more senior members of the company. They were barred from eating certain foods, drinking coffee, visiting the company club house, watching television or sleeping on their backs.
Following the complaints, Col. Asor opened the veterans club to all soldiers.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said, "These are irregular events that contradict the values of the IDF. The brigade commander had a poignant talk with the company staff."
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