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Justice Ministry accuses IDF of discriminating against Ethiopian-Israelis

IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot appears at a hearing of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Legal Assistance division of the Justice Ministry on Monday filed a petition with the High Court of Justice against the IDF for allegedly using “poor conduct” discharges with Ethiopian soldiers on a discriminatory basis.
Petitions by the Justice Ministry against the IDF are highly unusual as generally the two legal arms of the state work together on a highly coordinated and cooperative basis.
A 2011 State Comptroller report noted that 66 percent of Ethiopians released early in 2010 were released for “poor conduct,” a percentage far above the frequency that these grounds are given for discharges among the general population.
Negative impacts from a “poor conduct” release can be loss of National Insurance Institute and other benefits and can even negatively impact future job prospects.
The particular flagship case that the Justice Ministry is using to fight the IDF on the issue involves Aleph, who was released on December 31, 2013 for “poor conduct,” despite that on January 8, 2014, a neurologist and the official Medical Committee said that his release should have been based on his “medical condition.”
The ministry’s statement said that Aleph had been mistreated during several months in the Golani Brigade to which he was drafted in October 2011, and developed a medical condition, though it did not specify the nature of the medical condition.
Admitting that Aleph had deserted and been court-martialed for deserting, the statement also noted that at least one court-martial acquitted Aleph and ruled that had his IDF commanders acted differently, the whole issue could have been avoided.
Part of how the High Court rules could turn on how Aleph was treated in the IDF, to what extent he claimed a medical condition while still in the IDF and how much his post-discharge evaluation should change the overall picture.
The Jerusalem Post has learned that the IDF would likely claim that Aleph was given many privileges and leniencies that others are not give to try to help him adjust.
However, in this version of events, even if Aleph was on the emotionally sensitive end of the spectrum, his repeated desertion attempts and other conduct led to his release for poor conduct.
Legal Assistance head Gilad Semama stated that he hoped the petition would cause the IDF to change its ways on the ongoing long-term problem.
Source- The Jerusalem Post

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