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Israeli Draft-dodging Scam Larger Than First Reported, Say Police

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A ranking police official contended Monday that the number of draft evaders is much higher than the Israel Defense Force high command is prepared to admit.

Shimon Savir, who heads the serious crimes division of the national police, testified that a single doctor was responsible for getting more than 100 men out of military service on fake medical data.

He was referring to a draft-dodging ring in which IDF officers of relatively high rank and non-commissioned officers allegedly worked in collusion with civilian doctors to sell exemptions from compulsory military service.

The ring was exposed Sept. 5 with the announcement of the arrest of eight IDF personnel and eight civilians, mostly medical doctors.

The scandal sent shock waves through the military establishment and the public.

But the IDF brass insisted that only “a few rotten apples” were involved. Gen. Dan Shomron, the chief of staff, accused the news media last week of blowing the episode out of proportion.

He contended that only a handful of recruits had been fraudulently exempted and that a few reservists had their call-ups postponed or canceled as a result of the ring’s operation.

Savir, however, said in court Monday that just one of the accused doctors was responsible for the avoidance of military service by an entire company — well over 100 soldiers. He said that if the doctor “had continued with this system, it would have reached a battalion” — over 500 men.

Savir was referring to Dr. Solomon Kaplan, 51, of Bat Yam, a physician employed by Kupat Holim, the Histadrut health care agency. He is accused of supplying false medical reports over a six-month period. The court has ordered him detained in custody for an additional nine days.

At least two other doctors have been charged with issuing fraudulent medical evidence, including switched X-rays, for payments of cash.

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