9 Junior Army Offices and Non-coms Sentenced for Alleged Maltreatment of Recruits

A district military tribunal imposed sentences yesterday on nine junior army officers and non-coms for alleged maltreatment of recruits at an Israeli training base. The penalties imposed on the men, who ranged in rank from lieutenants to corporals, included warnings, reprimands, demotion and four month suspended jail terms.

They also included an angry lecture by the presiding judge. Lt. Col. Chava Inbar, who pointed out that the strength of the Israeli army. stemmed from its men’s faith in the justice of their cause and their pride in service, not on fear of their superiors. Striking a subordinate humiliates the commander no less than the soldier and place him on the same level as the undis- ciplined man, Col. Inbar said.

The four-month military trial which attracted great attention in Israel, was initiated on the complaint of the father of a recruit to the Minister of Defense who ordered an investigation. It involved the officers and non-coms of a specific platoon which had a reputation for lack of discipline.

Some military circles said the maltreatment charged to the defendants was no worse than at any army training base and expressed concern that the outcome of the trial would inhibit officers from exerting their authority. The sentences must be confirmed by the commanding officer of the area and by the Chief of Staff.

The charges included; Firing live bullets near a recruit; cocking a rifle and aiming it at a recruit; slapping a recruit’s face and kicking another recruit; forcing one man to hold two lighted flares; over-turning beds not properly made; collapsing tents and pouring water on recruits to wake them up; failing to allow them the prescribed seven hours of sleep before a day of training; pushing a recruit to make him run; and forcing one recruit to carry another on his back while running.

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