The military prosecutor on Thursday submitted to a special military court indictments against Brigadier General Ofek Buchris, on several counts of rape, sodomy, indecent assault and misconduct against two female soldiers who served under his command during his tenure as Golani Brigade Commander.
Buchris, 48, a religious Orthodox Jew, graduated from Midrashiat Noam and the pre-military academy of Ateret Kohanim yeshiva. He is married, the father of six children, and lives in Mitzpe Netofa in the Lower Galilee.
In late 2015 the military was about to appoint him Head of the Operations Division, a senior position in the IDF command. Then, in February 2016, deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan suspended Buchris following a complaint by one of his female subordinates in Golani. The Military Police investigations unit launched an investigation of accusations of rape against him. Buchris denied all the accusations from the start, but on March 10 the new chief of staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot revoked his high command appointment, since the investigation was dragging on and the army needed to fill the post.
An announcement from the IDF Spokesperson’s office described Buchris as “an officer and a warrior with a stellar record; the Judge Advocate General said that he made his decision with a heavy heart. Still, during the thorough investigation some alleged evidence surfaced to the fact that the officer carried out several serious sexual offenses against a junior enlisted female soldier and against a female officer, while the two were serving under his command as Golani Brigade Commander. Therefore the Judge Advocate General decided to indict him.”
Buchris and his military defenders issued a statement saying, “We regret the decision of the Judge Advocate General and think it is fundamentally erroneous. During the hearing process we presented to the JAG serious problems with which the case is rife. We are certain that we’ll be able to fight and prove Brigadier General Buchris’s innocence in court and that justice will prevail.”
Attorneys for the complaining officer, a Major, said that their client “was dragged into this affair against her choice, did not initiate a complaint against Brigadier General Ofek Buchris and was prepared to continue with her life. But once the military police investigators had come to her, she told them the truth regarding his behavior towards her. From the start she was certain that as soon as she exposed his actions he would be indicted, and that’s what took place today. The officer is certain the judicial system will know how to handle this case properly.”
In May 2002, Buchris commanded an operation to locate explosives labs and capture wanted terrorists in Shechem; during the raid on a house the company commander was killed and Buchris was severely injured, after being hit by four bullets. He received a commendation from then chief of staff Shaul Mofaz for his bravery.
In July 1994, while serving in the security strip in southern Lebanon, two of Buchris’s men were killed and four others were injured during an operational accident, when a troops carrier hit a high voltage wire; Buchris was indicted together with his battalion commander and the sector commander. They were acquitted of causing death through negligence but were convicted of negligence of duty.JNi.Media