IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi declared Thursday that an officer suspected of secretly filming female soldiers will be expelled from the armed forces.
In his first public response to the case after a gag order barring publication of the matter was lifted the day before, Kohavi wrote in a letter to soldiers that “we will not accept any direct or indirect harm to both men and women.
“This behavior is serious and wrong and we condemn it,” he wrote in the missive, marking International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. “In parallel with the criminal proceedings and bringing him to justice, we will strive for his immediate dismissal.”
“The principle we have established is ‘zero tolerance’ and we will act on it in the face of any deviation,” he said.
Kohavi urged the creation of an environment in the army that “respects all those serving in the IDF” through proactive education, study, monitoring and enforcement that encourages “reporting every incident without exception” so that it can be swiftly dealt with.
The officer, Dan Sharoni, a lieutenant colonel at a military driving school on the Bahad 6 base, was brought before a special military court in the Kirya army complex in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. He was arrested two weeks ago and is suspected of offenses including invasion of privacy.
Over the course of several years, on different bases where he served, Sharoni allegedly filmed female soldiers using hidden cameras.
He is also suspected of illegally copying intimate photos of female soldiers under his command to his own cellphone.
At least 15 women are complainants in the case, and it is likely many more were involved, the Kan public broadcaster reported.
IDF Military Police investigators are handling the case.
One of the alleged victims wrote in a widely read social media post that Sharoni used cameras disguised as phone charges he set up in rooms to film women.
“The cameras filmed me 24/7, getting dressed, in the shower, drying off with a towel, sleeping — straight to my officer,” she said, adding that other women had stories about Sharoni hacking their phones and filming them in their living quarters.
The case follows two other high-profile incidents of alleged sexual offenses against female soldiers.
On Wednesday, Gilboa Prison commander Freddy Ben Shitrit appeared to confirm reports from 2018 that female soldiers who were doing their military service in the prison as guards were “pimped” to Palestinian inmates.
Last week, an officer in an elite unit of the navy was charged with three counts of rape against another soldier in a case that roiled the service branch.