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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The commander of the 188th Armored Brigade, Col. Ilan Lavi, and his predecessor Col. Ofer Zafrir were questioned on Wednesday by Military Police to determine their knowledge concerning hazing ceremonies recently exposed in the brigade.
The hazing in Battalion 74 became known last month and was described by the Armored Corps as an isolated incident that did not take place in other units. Since then, the Air Force has jailed seven officers for holding similar "welcoming" ceremonies for new recruits in radar stations.
During the hazing in Brigade 188, new recruits in the battalion were beaten and humiliated. Pictures and footage showed the troops blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs. The bodies of some of the soldiers showed signs of severe physical abuse.
Both the current commander of Battalion 74 and his predecessor had disciplinary notations added to their personal files, and OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot ousted and jailed the company commander who oversaw the hazing ceremony.
An IDF source familiar with the investigation said that both brigade commanders had been questioned as part of the investigation, but that neither were suspected of having known.
"Had they both known, they likely would have taken steps to purge the phenomenon from the brigade," the officer said.
Both officers told their interrogators that they had not been aware of the ceremonies and that upon becoming aware, they had taken immediate steps to put a stop to them.
IDF sources said it was unlikely that the two would be punished, and that the investigation was nearing its completion.