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Rape case in Israeli army could block senior promotion

JERUSALEM, March 10 (JTA) — A high-profile rape case involving a senior Israeli army officer is raising questions about how the army deals with questions of sexual harassment. The case involving Brig. Gen. Nir Galili has prompted a petition before Israel’s Supreme Court to block his promotion to major general. The petition was filed by a woman who was serving as a secretary in the office of Galili, commander of the Tse’elim military base, when the rape allegedly occurred three years ago. The woman, then a soldier, claimed that when she refused to have intercourse with Galili, he forced himself on her. The two have both admitted to having an affair, in contravention to army regulations barring fraternization between officers and soldiers under their command. Galili denies the allegations. In the aftermath of the incident, Galili was brought before the deputy chief of staff for a disciplinary hearing and was reprimanded for behavior unbecoming an officer. His promotion to major general was also delayed by two years. With the postponement over, the woman has turned to the high court to block the promotion. In a brief filed with the court, Galili said the petition was unjustified because so much time had passed since the incident. He noted that the woman had not sought to block other promotions he has received since the alleged incident. Galili’s attorney further argued that two previous chiefs of staff and defense ministers had supported Galili’s advancement — even though they knew about the affair. The high court has previously refrained from interfering in the promotions of Israeli officers. But in a dissenting opinion on a petition seeking to block the advancement of Brig. Gen. Efi Eitam because of his alleged role in abuse of Palestinians by troops under his command during the intifada, or Palestinian uprising, Justice Dalia Dorner wrote that promoting an individual involved in a questionable action could harm the rule of law.