IDF colonel fired for losing classified docs in car theft

Ilan Levy blames exhaustion for leaving papers in his vehicle, which was recovered from West Bank by Shin Bet

Illustrative: An IDF soldier sits in a military court. (Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)
Illustrative: An IDF soldier sits in a military court. (Tsafrir Abayov/Flash90)

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot dismissed a high-ranking officer on Tuesday after the officer left classified documents in his car, which was stolen and smuggled into the West Bank.

Northern Command Artillery Officer Col. Ilan Levy was suspended last week by Eisenkot and Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, pending an investigation by the military’s Criminal Investigation Division, which carried out the probe and recovered the missing documents.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office released a statement on the affair, saying, “After the theft was discovered, an investigation was immediately opened and the materials were found and returned with the help of the Shin Bet and the police. The IDF is treating the incident seriously.”

Levy’s legal representative, IDF chief defense counsel Col. Asher Halperin, said in a statement that Levy had brought the classified materials with him as part of his position and under orders from superiors, and that he had neglected to take them out of the car because of exhaustion relating to his work.

“Due to fatigue that he accumulated in carrying out his duties in the Northern Command in the days preceding the incident, [Levy] left the material without noticing,” Halperin’s statement said. “It should be noted that this case does not at all characterize the officer’s functioning over more than 25 years of service.”

Halperin elaborated on Levy’s service, which included service as a battalion commander in the 2006 Second Lebanon War and in the 2014 Gaza conflict.

“[Levy] dedicated his whole adult life to the security of the State of Israel…endangering his life and sacrificing family life,” Halperin said.

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