IDF Ombudsman notes rise in soldiers' complaints

While military hazing ceremonies have mostly come to a stop in the IDF, a phenomenon of "violence in jest" continues, report finds.

IDF soldiers resting 390 (photo credit: REUTERS)
IDF soldiers resting 390
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A deputy company commander flipped over the bed of one of his soldiers and a platoon commander grabbed one of his subordinates and dragged him on the floor.
These and other complaints were featured in the IDF ombudsman’s annual report, which was released on Tuesday.
IDF Ombudsman Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brik noted a 10 percent increase in the number of complaints filed by soldiers to 6,940, over 600 more than in the previous year. Over 50% of the complaints were justified, Brik said.
While military hazing ceremonies had mostly come to a stop in the IDF, Brik said he had noticed a continued phenomenon of what he called “violence in jest.”
In one case, a non-commissioned officer pulled a female soldier’s hair while holding scissors in his other hand and threatened to cut it if she did not modify her appearance to meet military requirements. Another case was of an officer who pulled a soldier by the ear when leading him to a watchtower.
“This is due to a failure by the army to properly prepare the younger commanders how to interact with their soldiers, how to build a cohesive unit, to increase motivation as well as trust in their commanders,” Brik said.
Brik also dedicated a section of his report to hazards in IDF bases, which he claimed were often the cause of a lack of motivation among soldiers.
He said, for example, that soldiers complained about a lack of air in the Kirya military headquarters underground command center, referred to as the “Bor” (“pit”).
The ombudsman’s office found termites on another base, and found a shortage in showers for female soldiers on another.
Brik also said that commanders often referred to soldiers’ parents as “enemies” instead of speaking with them and opening up their units to the families.
“This creates antagonism by the parents as well as by the child who is in the army,” he wrote in the report.