A former soldier from the Oketz canine special forces unit told of the abuse he sustained during his military service due to his sexual orientation in an Instagram post on Friday.
“To my commanders, I hate each and every one of you,” Daniel Bloom started his post. “I want you to know that I’m not afraid of you, and I hope one day we’ll meet so I can break a wine bottle on your faces.
“To the guys who locked me outside the room in the rain at 3 a.m. because they were afraid that the homosexual in the room would touch them, I hope you develop a complex and rich identity, and not one based solely on toxic masculinity and special forces badassery, and stop feeling that a 60-kilogram Twink threatens your existence,” he wrote, using a term to describe a slim gay or bisexual man.
“To my commander, who saw me sad and alone, took me aside and told me that if I don’t make friends by the end of the month then he’ll kick me out, I hope you’ll be sad and alone, and the person who’s supposed to take care of you will stamp on you,” he wrote.
In his post, which so far has over 34,000 likes on Instagram, Bloom also said that other soldiers would film him behind his back and spread rumors that he touched people in the middle of the night, and that his squadron stood by while he faced this abuse.
“I’m not willing to lie, smile, and say everything’s ok when I’m asked about how my service was,” Bloom ended the post.
“Today, I no longer live in fear, I live in anger and I will not remain silent. It’s said that in the army they break you down so they can build you back up stronger. Today, I finish a dark and weary chapter in my life, and I’m gathering myself up and going in a new direction,” he wrote.
In a response to the post to the Kan public broadcaster, the IDF said that after Bloom’s complaints were made eight months ago, commanders spoke with soldiers about the issue, and an investigation was opened.
Furthermore, the statement added that Bloom’s brigade commander spoke with him to express his sorrow over hearing of the former soldier’s experiences.
Bullying on the basis of sexual orientation constitutes sexual harassment under Israeli law, and can be punishable by up to two years in prison.
According to statistics presented to the Knesset last year, in 2020 there were 1,542 complaints of sexual harassment in the IDF, of which only 31 led to indictments.
The Oketz unit specializes in operations involving canines. Dogs are trained to attack, detect explosives and assist in search and rescue operations.