IDF fighter cleared of allegation he raped soldier serving on same base

Court unanimously clears Iron Dome serviceman of all charges, accepting defense claim that the pair had a consensual relationship

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: An IDF soldier places a beret on her shoulder in the Old City of Jerusalem. January 11, 2016. (Esther Rubyan/ Flash90/ File)
Illustrative: An IDF soldier places a beret on her shoulder in the Old City of Jerusalem. January 11, 2016. (Esther Rubyan/ Flash90/ File)

A military court on Monday cleared an Israeli soldier accused of raping a fellow soldier serving alongside him on the same base.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the soldier — who was granted anonymity by the court — was unanimously cleared of all charges by a panel of judges.

The soldier, who served in a unit that operates the Iron Dome missile defense system, was arrested on November 16 last year, during a Military Police investigation into the case.

On December 9, 2021, he was indicted for raping a female soldier who served on the same army base.

His defense lawyers claimed that the pair had a consensual relationship, an argument ultimately accepted by the court.

The soldier was also released from his arrest earlier this year, as the court finished reviewing all evidence in the case.

Iron Dome anti-missile batteries installed in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, November 12, 2019. (Noam Rivkin Fenton/Flash90)

The military has been criticized for its handling of sexual assault allegations. In an ongoing case in military court, Lt. Col. Dan Sharoni reached a plea deal last month after being charged with 79 counts of sex crimes for filming dozens of his female subordinates while they were nude without their knowledge. The deal, which originally included him potentially retaining his military pension, set off a firestorm of controversy about the case and about how the IDF handles sex abuse.

Dan Sharoni, an IDF officer accused of sexual offenses, arrives for a hearing at a military court in Beit Lid, July 24, 2022. (Flash90)

In April, an IDF soldier told an officer at her base that she was raped at a party over the Purim holiday, but she was not taken to be examined at a hospital, nor was her allegation passed on to the police. Ten days later, she took her own life on base using her commanding officer’s weapon.

Intelligence Minister Elazar Stern said last year that during his tenure as head of the IDF Manpower Directorate, he would shred anonymous complaints of sexual misconduct; the ensuing scandal caused him to withdraw his candidacy to become the next chairman of the Jewish Agency.

On Sunday — in the wake of renewed reports about sexual abuse of female IDF soldiers serving as prison guards by Palestinian inmates — Prime Minister Yair Lapid said that violence against women is “a stain on the country and it cannot continue.”

“It is our responsibility as a society and our obligation as the government to eradicate this phenomenon,” he added.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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