Sharp rise in soldiers' complaints

A report indicated a sharp rise in complaints filed by soldiers against their commanders.

idf reservists 88 (photo credit: )
idf reservists 88
(photo credit: )
One commander called an Ethiopian soldier a "nigger," another kicked one of his soldiers in the ribs for not doing push-ups correctly, another challenged his subordinate to commit suicide. These stories and many others were revealed Sunday by IDF Ombudsman Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avner Barzani in his annual report. The report indicated a sharp rise in complaints filed by soldiers against their commanders. Thirty-seven percent of complaints in 2006 dealt with soldier-commander relationships, up from 27.7% in 2005, Barzani said in the report. The ombudsman's office received 6,076 complaints in 2006, compared to 6,048 in 2005. Complaints from reservists fell. Following investigations, 61% of the complaints were found to have been legitimate. The report was submitted to Defense Minister Amir Peretz last week. "It appears that there are commanders in the IDF who do not believe that their job is of value or demands of them to be responsible and set an example," Barzani wrote. The report cited the case of a lieutenant colonel serving as a deputy brigade commander who told a soldier who had threatened to commit suicide: "Lets see if you have the guts to do it... I have met several soldiers who threatened to commit suicide like you in the past." Barzani recommended that disciplinary action be taken against the officer. In another instance, a platoon commander wrote the name of a soldier on a target at a shooting range and ordered his soldiers to shoot at it. Another commander drew with a pen on a soldier's face to demonstrate the permitted length of sideburns in the IDF. Regarding the Second Lebanon War, the report cited several cases of reservists who were called up for service they had not been trained for. One case involved a medic who had lived abroad for 12 years but was called up upon his return to serve as a combat medic without any training. Another case was of a doctor who received emergency call-up orders to serve as a field doctor even though he was a practitioner of Chinese medicine.