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Israeli army major arrested on suspicion of raping, abusing female soldier

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This undated file picture shows members of the Caracal Battalion train in Nitzana, southern part of the Israeli-occupied territories. (Photo by Getty Images)

Israeli military officials have arrested an officer with the rank of major on suspicion of raping and sexually harassing a female soldier at a base in the occupied territories.

The English-language online newspaper The Times of Israel, citing the Israeli military, reported on Saturday that the unnamed man was detained on Thursday, and is suspected of rape, sexual abuse and sexual harassment, as well as driving under the influence.

The rape is said to have taken place about 10 months ago.

The report came a week after two Israeli navy officers resigned from their posts after Channel 12 television network broadcast a report, exposing sexual harassment and improper sexual relationships with subordinates by senior officer Brigadier General Shai Elbaz, when he served as head of the navy’s elite Shayetet 13 commando unit.

Ebaz and a second officer tied to the case resigned from the military over the exposé.

The Palestinian Shehab news agency, citing a news broadcast by Israel’s Army Radio, reported in late June that the number of rape and sexual harassment cases among Israeli soldiers has increased by 20 percent over the past two years.

The Israeli military police had opened 158 investigation cases related to physical and verbal sexual harassment last year, the report added.

In July 2018, Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post reported a 43 percent increase in complaints related to sexual harassment in the Israeli army during the past five years.

The Israeli daily noted “there were 13 cases of abuse of authority, 165 cases of obscene acts, 263 cases of physical harassment, another 349 cases of verbal harassment and another 63 cases of unwanted peeking or photography.”

Back in late April 2015, four Israeli soldiers were arrested on suspicion of gang-raping a female soldier serving with them at the Hatzerim Air Force Base in the southern part of the occupied territories.

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