An internal IDF survey found that one of six female soldiers declared that she was sexually harassed during her service.
The vast majority of female soldiers who said they experienced sexual harassment reported that they had been harassed more than once. 6% of the soldiers said they were harassed two or three times during their military service, and 3% said they were harassed four times or more, which is the highest level reported since 2004.
Particularly alarming was that over 60% of the respondents said that their unit has an atmosphere of sexual harassment, down from 65% in 2014. Female soldiers described an environment filled with crude jokes and sexual stories, offensive sexual comments, and spoke of commanders and soldiers that disseminated pornographic images.
The survey was conducted by the Chief of Staff's Gender Advisor, through anonymous questionnaires sent to thousands of female soldiers and officers.
The IDF Spokespersons Unit said that "the data relates to 2016. In the survey, questions are asked regarding cases of sexual harassment in the IDF as well as the awareness, reporting culture, and treatment provided to the victims, and the results of the survey do not indicate an increase in the number of female soldiers and officers who reported that the experienced sexual harassment."
A long line of disturbing sexual-related crimes has occurred in the IDF recently. In August, a soldier from an infantry unit was indicted for rape and indecent behavior stemming from his actions against a female soldier serving in his battalion. The soldier admitted that he had had sexual relations with the female soldier, but denied raping her and insisted that there was consent on her part.
One of the most explosive cases the IDF ever had to deal with was when Brigadier-General Ofek Buchris was accused of raping a subordinate. Buchris was the most senior IDF officer ever accused of sexual misconduct, and was a highly decorated soldier, having come back from severe injuries he suffered during 2003's Operation Defensive Shield to command the prestigious Golani Brigade.
Buchris eventually admitted to the charges and was demoted to the rank of Colonel.