Number of sexual harassment cases in the IDF climbs

Official says it’s unclear whether there are more incidents or more willingness to report

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Illustrative: IDF soldiers. (Serge Attal/Flash90)
Illustrative: IDF soldiers. (Serge Attal/Flash90)

The number of sexual harassment complaints in the IDF has reportedly climbed by more than 80 percent since 2007. It was unclear whether the increase was due to more cases of inappropriate behavior or to an increased willingness to report such incidents, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday.

The information was released by the IDF after a request by The Movement for Freedom of Information, whicch said in a statement that knowledge and transparency were the only ways of fighting sexual harassment, especially in a male-dominated body like the army.

According to the statistics, in 2011 there were 144 new sexual harassment files opened by the military police, up from 94 in 2007. The number of complaints climbed from 318 in 2007 to 583 in 2011.

An unnamed army official told the Hebrew daily that it could simply be that awareness was higher, without an actual increase in the number of women harassed.

One statistic to support this claim can be seen by comparing 2011 to 2010. In 2010, the army received 483 sexual harassment complaints from soldiers and opened 143 cases. As noted, in 2011 the army opened 144 cases after 583 soldiers filed complaints about sexual harassment.

Although there was a steep climb in the number of complaints, there was only one more case opened by the military police, indicating an increased willingness to report sexual harassment but a steady number of cases deemed worth of persecution by the military police.


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