Gilboa Prison
Gilboa PrisonPhoto: Prisons Service

At the end of a meeting between Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Public Security Minister Omer Barlev, the two agreed to establish a joint team that will examine the nature of the work in the Prisons Service for male and female soldiers during the period of their compulsory service. Team members will include experts from the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Public Security, the IDF, and the Israel Prisons Service.

In Israel, compulsory military service begins at age 18. Men serve two years and eight months and women two years. After that time, the soldier can either return to civilian life or sign on as a career soldier.

The team will examine the positions held by female soldiers, and, if necessary, will redefine the roles and tasks that are assigned to male and female soldiers doing their compulsory service in the prisons system. The team will also examine the extension of the temporary order that allows the placement of soldiers in the Prisons Service. Recommendations will be submitted by November 11, 2022.

Until the submission of their conclusions, the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Public Security agreed that the soldiers in compulsory service will not be assigned to the units holding security prisoners. Ongoing supervision of the IDF and the Prisons Service will be increased in order to ensure the maintenance of the personal safety for the soldiers during their compulsory service.

During the recruitment cycles in the months of August-September 2022, the allocation of male and female soldiers in compulsory service to the Prisons Service will continue.

Defense Minister Gantz: "The personal safety of all of our servicemen and women, in the Prisons Service or any other unit, must be our top priority. The events that allegedly took place within the prison walls are extremely serious, and we must not ignore them. The team that will be established will conduct an in-depth investigation and will re-examine the nature of soldiers' service - this is in parallel with immediate actions already being taken in the field.''

According to Gantz, "The parents who send their children to mandatory military service must know that we are doing everything to protect them, and we will. I thank the Minister of Public Security for his and his staff’s full commitment. We intend to learn from past events and we will, together, strengthen the service in the prison system and everywhere, while at the same time maintaining the soldiers’ safety and attending to their needs."

Minister of Public Security Barlev: "The alleged incidents to which we were exposed are very difficult to digest and all of us are obliged to fight this serious phenomenon. There is zero tolerance for such acts. We will ensure the safety and security of both male and female soldiers in the Prisons Service, in particular, as that served as the catalyst for establishing the joint team, as well as all other security services. This is our commitment to them; this is our commitment to their parents; and this is our commitment to Israeli society. The fight against sexual harassment is one of my priorities at the Ministry of Public Security. I would like to thank the Minister of Defense for his cooperation and for understanding that in this important fight we must join hands."