Military Police launch probe after soldier reports rape, then dies by suicide

Haaretz report says several officers questioned for largely ignoring woman’s report, failing to meet with her after failed suicide attempt a day before she died on base

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)

The Military Police on Tuesday confirmed it had opened an investigation into the suicide of a female soldier a day after a failed attempt to kill herself and several days after she reported being raped, the Haaretz daily reported.

Ten days before the soldier died in April of this year, she told an officer at her base that she was raped at a party during the Purim holiday, and complained about her mental condition, the report said.

Despite the complaint, she was not taken to be examined at a hospital, nor did representatives of the military chief’s gender affairs adviser unit — who were notified of the incident — meet with the soldier, the report said.

The rape claim was also not initially passed on to the Military Police or Israel Police. The Israel Defense Forces told Haaretz that the soldier decided against filing a complaint with the police.

A day before she died, the soldier was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. It was not clear how she attempted suicide, or if she was wounded in the incident.

She was released from the hospital without any military or family escort, according to Haaretz, which added that her immediate family was abroad at the time.

The soldier was not prevented from returning to her base, where she entered her commanding officer’s office, took his gun, and shot herself in the chest, after leaving behind a suicide note, the report said.

She was found dead at the scene.

An initial examination of the woman’s body did not show signs of rape, but officials did not rule out other types of sexual assault that could have occurred 10 days before her death.

The IDF confirmed to Haaretz that the female soldier reported the rape several days before her suicide, and confirmed that there was a suspicion that military officials did not meet with her while she was hospitalized, aside from a brief phone call by a mental health officer.

Several officers were interrogated on suspicion of negligence for allegedly largely ignoring the soldier’s report, and failing to pass information about her mental state to relevant military officials.

In a statement, the IDF said it was investigating the death of a female soldier, without elaborating further, citing the “privacy of the individual and the sensitivity of the information… and in light of the ongoing investigation into the circumstances of the death.”

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