Ofer Winter
Ofer WinterFlash 90

The military prosecutors decided to close the investigation case against Givati Brigade Commander Col. Ofer Winter, according to reports in Haaretz on Monday.

Winter was investigated under warning last Thursday by the military police on suspicion that he knew about several incidents in his brigade and didn't inform his supervisors about them.

The incidents include complaints of sexual abuse of female soldiers by Givati's Tzabar battalion Commander Lt. Col. Liran Hajbi, a rebellion by fighters that he allegedly hushed up as well as two suicides, and damage caused to a jeep he supposedly didn't report.

Winter cooperated with the investigation, and his attorney Oded Saborai said he noted it is an "important investigation."

Saborai said that the charges against his client in the investigation are baseless because Winter did not cover up the complaints against Hajbi and the other claims but rather passed them on as required.

Sources close to Winter added that it would have been impossible to cover up the investigation, because the IDF's Criminal Investigation Unit (CID) was holding a covert investigation in the brigade on the claims against Hajbi - an investigation Winter was aware of as brigade commander.

Several of Winter's soldiers told Arutz Sheva last week that he is being targeted for "elimination" for his religiosity, accusing organizations and people, including those in the army, of a joint campaign seeking a pretext against Winter - and it all started after he made religious statements at the start of Operation Protective Edge.

Winter was embroiled in a media storm after in a call-up message sent to members of the brigade he wrote that they were going out against "the terrorist Gazan enemy that curses, reviles and insults the G-d of the campaigns of Israel." The criticism against him came from various sources, including then-Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (Likud).

"His call to rely on the G-d of Israel gave strong feelings to many in the army and outside it because of the media storm, since then he's a target for elimination in the eyes of several people, and the attempt now to frame him with covering up some abuse case of some commander is part of the program to eliminate his career," said the soldiers, who refused to add more details.

The talk of a secretive planned campaign comes on the heels of a Knesset debate last month about "religionization" in the IDF, framed as a discussion of Jewish "radicalization" following an increasing religiosity among soldiers during the operation.

Former IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. (res.) Rabbi Avichai Ronski slammed the discussion, calling it "anti-Semitic."