Sexual Harassment Rampant in Israeli Military

Sexual Harassment Rampant in Israeli Military
Sexual Harassment Rampant in Israeli Military

One in six female Israeli soldiers said they had been sexually harassed during their military service in 2016, although actual figures could be much higher, according to a report released by the Israeli army on Sunday.

The results of the internal survey questioned thousands of women in a variety of roles, found that 16% of female soldiers had reported experiences of sexual harassment. Nine percent had been harassed multiple times, according to the Times of Israel, Middle East Monitor reported.

However, when women were asked indirectly about sexual harassment, the survey found the rate may be much higher than the number of reported incidents. When asked about their level of comfort at military facilities, 60% of female officers said there was a climate of sexual harassment as officers made hurtful sexual comments and over a third were subject to inappropriate gestures.

Verbal harassment has been observed to be more common than physical assaults, but is accepted by many female soldiers as part of life in the military.

The study comes as the Israeli army is trying to integrate women into the workforce. Yet a report in March by Haaretz revealed that such strategies were failing, as mixed gender battalions and demeaning attitudes towards female soldiers from military officials were discouraging women from participating in active combat roles.

There have also been numerous cases of sexual assault in the armed forces in recent months, resulting in some soldiers serving jail time after being convicted of rape.

In February, Brigadier General Ofek Buchris, the highest ranking officer to face such allegations, reached a plea bargain after being charged with 16 counts of sexual assault which included three rapes. After admitting to the charges, he was demoted to the rank of colonel without having to serve any jail time, prompting harsh criticism from the public.


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