Hearings for 5 IDF officers for soldier's drowning

IDF officers will undergo hearings after an investigation reveals that a navigational training exercise deviated from safety regulations.

Uzi Baruch ,

Evyatar Yosefi
Evyatar Yosefi
Credit: Facebook account

Military Advocate-General, Major General Sharon Afek, summoned five officers, who were commanders of the late Sergeant Evyatar Yosefi, to a hearing following findings of the Military Police Criminal Investigation Division (MPCID) of the circumstances surrounding Yosefi's death during a training exercise in Nahal Hilazon in the Galilee on January 7, 2019.

Yosefi was swept away in the Hilazon stream and drowned during a nighttime navigational training exercise.

The investigation revealed that the navigation planning and preparations for it were carried out in apparent disregard of mandatory safety regulations, and insufficient weight was given to the expected weather conditions during the navigation and its possible implications for the safety of the soldiers. The investigation also revealed that there were warning signs during the navigation which should have led to a reassessment of the situation and revamped instructions to the soldiers to protect their safety.

The officers summoned to the hearing were: the battalion commander (an officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel), the commander of the field (an officer with the rank of major), the company commander (officer with the rank of captain), the deputy commander of the company (officer with the rank of lieutenant) and the commanding officer (lieutenant). The officers were interrogated by the MPCID on suspicion of negligent manslaughter, negligence, and non-compliance with military orders.

The event was thoroughly investigated at the command level, and the lessons gleaned from the tragic incident have already been incorporated into the IDF. In addition, according to IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi's decision, significant command steps were taken regarding the six officers (the officers summoned to the hearing and the brigade commander).

A decision will be made as to whether indictments will be filed against the officers, and if so, what offenses, following the hearings.