Golani officer to be blocked from promotion, combat duty after review

Lt. Guy Eliahu was the subject of a 'Haaretz' exposé which accused him of violating orders and of cover-ups by his superior officers.

IDF soldiers of the Golani Brigade train for scenarios involving enemies similar to Hezbollah. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF soldiers of the Golani Brigade train for scenarios involving enemies similar to Hezbollah.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
An officer in the IDF’s famed Golani Brigade has had his promotion blocked and will be removed from combat duty and his battalion commander will be reprimanded, after an investigation by Haaretz found that he has a history of violating orders while his superior officers looked the other way.
Following the expose into Lt. Guy Eliahu, a squad commander in Golani’s reconnaissance unit, the head of the IDF’s Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. Amir Baram, opened an investigation into the allegations regarding the incidents, which had taken place over two years.
The incidents included an alleged unauthorized and deadly cross-border raid into Syria, as well as a revenge attack against Palestinians following an accident on Route 6 in which several of Eliahu’s troops were killed, as well as the forgery of a document that had been submitted to military court.
“In recent months, Haaretz has published several stories about ostensible irregularities at the Golani reconnaissance unit, involving an officer with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Baram "set up a team to investigate the conduct of this officer during these incidents,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said.
While the military acknowledged the claims by Haaretz that Eliahu led the raid into Syria which led to an exchange of fire that killed at least two civilians, the IDF said that there was no reason to believe that the operation had not been cleared and approved by all relevant commanders. The investigation by Baram said it was part of routine activity along the border and that the exchange of fire was done in a professional manner.
Nevertheless, the investigation did find that “an accumulation of incidents relating to the officer” were made, including Eliahu having his soldiers stop their vehicles along Highway 6 in an unsafe way; failing to prevent his soldiers from slashing tires of Palestinian-owned vehicles in Nablus after several of his soldiers were killed in a car crash; and the document falsification.
The investigation also found that there was no conspiracy by Eliahu’s commanders to cover up his actions, though there were several cases of officers failing to properly inform their successors and superiors of the lieutenant’s history, “which led to his promotion.”
“The results point to an outright dismissal of claims of a cover-up, lies and deliberate concealment by commanders regarding these incidents,” the statement read.
But those mistakes and warnings that went unheard should have prevented the commander of the Reconnaissance Battalion, Lt.-Col. Shimon Siso, from sending Eliahu to the military’s Tactical Command College ahead of promotion in rank, the IDF said.
“The investigation did find an accumulation of incidents relating to that officer, which required a decision by senior officers in his case. The details in each case were presented to these officers, but errors were made in documenting the decisions made regarding this officer, which allowed him to be sent to that course,” the Spokesperson’s Unit statement said.
Following the investigation, which was received and approved by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, “in light of the collection of incidents related to the officer and the moral failings that occurred under his command, the officer will not be promoted to the position of company commander in the IDF,” the military said in a statement, adding that while Eliahu will be permitted to complete his studies at the Tactical Command College, he will only be allowed to serve in non-command posts.
In addition, Baram censured Siso for his role in sending Eliahu to the college “without fully indicating to the current brigade commander about the incident that occurred in Nablus,” the military said.
The investigation found that while Siso had investigated the incident and found that Eliahu had failed to both intervene at the time and inform his commanders about it after the fact, the battalion commander did not take appropriate action against Eliahu as he only issued a reprimand to him in light of the deaths of his soldiers.
“His commanders should have expelled this soldier immediately and sentenced him to a lockup on base, instead of just suspending him,” Baram wrote.
The Spokesperson’s Unit added that a denial they had issued earlier regarding the story by Haaretz, while “accurate at the time... After establishing further facts, it turned out that the reporter had received some information from a military source.”