An officer suspected of secretly filming female soldiers in intimate situations was removed from his position on Monday amid an ongoing inquiry into his alleged crimes, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The head of the IDF Technology and Logistics Directorate, Maj. Gen. Michel Yanko, signed a “removal letter” against the officer, Lt. Col. Dan Sharoni, who led the IDF’s driving academy, the military said.
Somewhat irregularly, the disciplinary action against Sharoni came before an indictment against him, apparently indicating the strength of the evidence.
Over the course of several years, on different bases where he served, Sharoni allegedly filmed female soldiers in their barracks and other private areas using hidden cameras. He is also suspected of illegally copying intimate photos of female soldiers under his command to his own cellphone.
“The IDF sees with great severity any violation of a sexual nature and will continue to advance a policy of zero tolerance against anyone who does so,” the military said in a statement.
Sharoni was arrested on November and has been in custody since his arrest. On Monday, a military court extended his arrest by an additional seven days, the IDF said.
At least 38 women have testified against him and investigators expect to identify more of his victims soon, prosecutors said.
One of the alleged victims wrote in a widely read social media post that Sharoni used cameras disguised as phone chargers 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 dismissal of Sharoni came days after IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said he would be removed from his position.
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 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.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.