Second navy officer resigns ahead of sexual harassment exposé

Second navy officer resigns ahead of sexual harassment exposé

TV report focuses on alleged wrongdoing by former head of elite commando unit, who has resigned; second officer’s role not immediately clear

One of the women allegedly harassed by Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz speaks to Channel 12 (Channel 12 screenshot)
One of the women allegedly harassed by Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz speaks to Channel 12 (Channel 12 screenshot)

A second military officer identified in a forthcoming television exposé on improper sexual relationships and sexual harassment in the navy announced his retirement on Wednesday, a day after the resignation of the head of naval operations over the report.

Channel 12 reported that the man, identified by the first letter of his name as Major “V,” had decided to depart the service. He served in the navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit. The officer’s role in the alleged wrongdoing was not immediately reported, with the story set to air on Friday.

The report focuses on Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz, the current head of naval operations and former head of the Shayetet 13 reconnaissance unit, alleging he had multiple sexual relationships with subordinates.

Ahead of its release, Elbaz sent a letter to IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi and the head of the Israel Navy Maj. Gen. Eli Sharvit seeking to leave his position immediately.

Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz, the outgoing head of IDF naval operations, who resigned in October 2019 amid allegations of past illicit sexual liaisons with subordinates.

“Brig. Gen. Shai Elbaz asked to end his position and resign from the IDF over publication of events that allegedly occurred more than 10 years ago and which included behavior that does not match the accepted norms of the IDF,” the military said in a statement.

Kohavi and Sharvit accepted his request.

“Brig. Gen. Elbaz is a high-ranking officer who has served in a variety of combat positions and contributed directly to the security of the State of Israel. The chief of staff determined that there is no place for these norms [he displayed] in the IDF and that he will show zero tolerance toward these types of incidents in the future,” the IDF said.

His alleged sexual harassment occurred while he was commander of Shayetet 13.

According to Channel 12, multiple women came forward and claimed that he had maintained improper sexual relationships with them.

The allegations against Elbaz came two years after Ofek Buchris, formerly a brigadier general, pleaded guilty to three counts of maintaining prohibited sexual relationships as part of a deal in exchange for having far more serious charges dropped.

Buchris, a former head of the Golani infantry brigade who was seen as a rising star in the IDF, had been accused of rape and sexual assault by two female officers who served under him.

He denied the accusations at first, but later took public responsibility for unspecified sexual offenses and an illegal sexual relationship as part of the plea deal. The prosecution agreed not to seek jail time as part of the bargain.

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