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31 Soldiers Found Guilty of Desertions

Thirty-one members of the Israel Defense Force were found guilty of desertion by a court-martial Tuesday but there were apparently mitigating circumstances.

Punishments varied from prison to probation.

The soldiers, nearing the end of their three and-a-half years of compulsory military service in the army, navy or air force, were sent to training base to prepare for future reserve duty in the artillery.

They charged they were treated like raw recruits at the training base and insulted by the instructors. They also complained that the food the base was unpalatable.

When the base commander refused their request for an interview, they walked off the base but were soon arrested by the military police and held as deserters.

Three were sentenced to 21 days in military prison. Three others were confined to barracks for three weeks. The rest were released on promise of good behavior.

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