6.861 complaints
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IDF ombudsman submits annual report
Military Complaints Commissioner heard 6,861 grievances in 2012. Almost 60% found with merit

IDF Ombudsman Brigadier-General (Res.) Yitzhak Brik has submitted his annual report regarding soldier complaints Tuesday.


Among the complaints was a commander who posted a pornographic photo to one of his soldiers' Facebook pages, a soldier who was forced to sleep in a train station and even a racist slur aimed at an Ethiopian soldier.


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In 2012, the IDF's Complaints Commission received 6,861 reports of grievances, despite 6,940 in 2011. Of the complaints received, 59.7% were found to be valid. A solid majority of the complaints belonged to soldiers serving their mandatory service and a third dealt with commander-soldier relations.


Facebook revenge

At the embarrassing end of the complaint spectrum was a complaint lodged by a soldier against his company's sergeant major and an officer.


According to him, the two entered his Facebook account and replaced his profile picture with a pornographic one of a nude, yet similar looking person. The investigation into the incident revealed that prior to the event the soldier entered into the Facebook of one of his commanders and published an embarrassing text.


The ombudsman said that the commanders had failed to respond to the event in a professional manner and ordered the officer to be relieved of his duty and the sergeant be barred from promotion.


In their defense, the commanders said that the at first the soldier took the revenge with a smile, but then it turned out he had been wounded by the incident.


Train station blues

At the more uncomfortable end of the complaint spectrum was a complaint lodged by a soldier, a resident of the north who was required to reach a base in central Israel in the early morning hours.


After the soldier requested to be transferred to another base he was put on a waiting list and requested that in the meantime he would be allowed to sleep in the base, but his commander refused, asking him "What, are you an Arab?."


In wake of her refusal, the soldier was forced to sleep in the train station. The commander was reprimanded for her comment.


All tied up

A soldier of Ethiopian decent who refused an order to guard settlements complained that his commanders acted in an aggressive and strict manner with him when the latter handcuffed him in an embarrassing manner, in opposition to IDF rules.


After he refused to be judged by a commanding officer, he was handcuffed yet again, but this time to a fellow soldier. Eventually, later the evening he was sentenced to time at an army detention center, but the center was full, prompting the commander to leave him cuffed to a chair in his office.


In investigating the event, the complaints department said that even though the soldier refused an order and refused to be judged he did not act violently towards the commanders, and hence there was no need to handcuff him.


'Walk to the light'

Another soldier of Ethiopian decent, this time a female officer, filed a complaint against a senior commander of one of the IDF's territorial brigades who said: "Why aren’t you sitting with your fellow Ethiopians?" and "Walk to the light so I can see you."


Getting better

In response to the report, the IDF Spokesperson Unit said: "The IDF is committed to learning the report in a thorough and professional manner. Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz has tasked his deputy, Gadi Eisenkot, with addressing the issues mentioned in the report.


"During the previous week Gantz held a meeting with the complaint commissioner and the latter noted a significant improvement in certain fields, specifically problems stemming from seniority and issues regarding hazing."


Shahar Hai contributed to this report



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