Army dismisses claims of sexual assault by Golani commander

An IDF spokesperson dismissed allegations that soldiers on peacekeeping duty had violated a female protestor.

Shlomo Witty ,

מעצר במהלך המחאה בצומת קדומים
מעצר במהלך המחאה בצומת קדומים
הלל מאיר / TPS

The IDF has rejected out of hand the accusations of sexual misconduct towards citizens participating in a protest near the town of Kedumim on Saturday night.

''Allegations of sexual harassment against the demonstrators are false and baseless. The soldiers took whatever action was necessary to clear the road when protesters refused to comply with instructions to do so, and at all times followed established procedures," said the IDF.

The incident in question involves a citizen named Yehuda Shimon, of Chavat Gilad, who is reported to have assaulted a Golani officer, claiming that the officer seized his daughters in an intimate manner to remove them from the road when they blocked it to protest the killing of Ahuvyah Sandak.

A demonstration near the town of Kedumim on Saturday night found residents blocking traffic, creating a lengthy traffic jam. IDF forces stationed at the area first asked residents to clear the road, then began removing them by force when they failed to comply. One such resident violently assaulted Lt. Col. Eyoub Koyef of Sayeret Golani.

"The IDF strongly condemns physical and verbal violence against its representatives and takes a grave view of such incidents," the IDF commented.

In response to this incident, residents of Kedumim will hold a rally on Monday night in support of the Golani soldiers stationed in the area. Kedumim Local Council Head Hananel Dorani commented," This is a serious incident which saw an IDF officer attacked by a person who does not live in Kedumim. I condemn any attempt to harm IDF soldiers - they are our sons and brothers, and we are deeply in their debt. Our hearts are with the officer and his soldiers, and we will continue to work together to maintain order in the area.

Defense Minister Bnei Gantz commented, "We will not accept any act of terrorism or violence against civilians or soldiers. I condemn the attack on a Golani commander by a lawbreaker. The IDF and other security bodies will continue to maintain law and order despite all malicious incitement to the contrary. The recent uptick in violent assaults will be met swiftly and severely."

MK Bezalel Smotrich said, "I tried for more than half an hour to find out what happened and have not succeeded. This, though, must be made abundantly clear: no one may raise a hand against our brothers in the military or the police. I send my best regards to Sayeret Golani and their commander, Lt. Col. Koyef."

Yossi Dagan, governor of the Samaria region, commented, "It is the unequivocal position of every town in this region that no one may assault an IDF officer."

'' I have been trying for some hours now, with the help of a team of professionals, To determine what happened at Kedumim. Two particularly unpleasant facts have so far come to light: first, there is no excuse for a male commander to touch religious girls, especially not in front of their parents. The law provides that female soldiers or officers should remove them instead. Secondly, there is to be no violence of any kind towards our neighbors and brothers in the IDF."

"Naturally, the IDF officer in question must be brought to account for his breach of propriety, but this must happen exclusively by way of the Military Police, through official channels only. There is to be no attempt to harm the IDF from anyone."

"Ahuvyah's death has created considerable tension in this region. I call on everyone, civilian and soldier alike, to pour calm on our troubled waters. That there is need to change the patterns of police behaviour in the region there can be no doubt, nor that the protests are legitimate, but perhaps both sides have gone too far by now. There are things that need to be investigated and examined, of course, but we also need to restore calm to the region. We are all brothers here."