Jerusalem, (IANS) Three personnel of the Israel Air Force were Monday sentenced by a military court to six months in prison for assaulting a senior officer.
The deputy commander of an F16 squadron at the northern Ramat David air base was struck with fists and wooden clubs in the presence of his children, after the officer lodged a complaint with the soldiers’ commanding officer for their reckless driving on the base premises, Xinhua reported citing the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.
The assault on the officer – identified only as Major A. – took place in July.
The squadron commander, accompanied by passers-by, rushed to the scene and extricated his deputy from what witnesses described as “a near certain lynch”.
“These guys crossed a red line. We saw evil in their eyes,” a witness was quoted as saying.
The military court also demoted the assailants, who serve in a technical support unit, to the rank of private, in a plea bargain deal reached with the Army Judge Advocate General’s Office.
The incident sparked outrage in the Air Force, with senior officers calling to review the screening of potential candidates for service, a tiny minority of whom were convicted of felonies and misdemeanors while in high school.
“With all due respect to the notion of the people’s army, the balance has been violated and we are paying a price,” said a commander of another fighter squadron.
The officer said he was forced to “invest too much time” in solving soldiers’ personal problems at the expense of operations.