Sunday, July 5, 2015

Different spanks

Haaretz has this report suggesting that a lieutenant colonel who was recently convicted and demoted might have fared better had he had a higher rank. Excerpt:
. . . [Lt. Col. Liran] Hajbi’s biggest sin was not mentioned at all: the sin of junior status. Hajbi arrived at the proceeding against him too early in his career and with too low a status. What is forbidden for a lieutenant colonel, a colonel and even a brigadier general is permitted for a major general. That is the rank that guarantees immunity for the senior officer class, the khaki floor that prevents a downfall.

That is apparently the meaning of the biblical verse “And there we saw the nephilim (men of great stature), the sons of Anaq who come of the nephilim – and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”

There are nephilim - and there are Hajbis (a play on the Hebrew word for grasshoppers). The nephilim were also once Hajbis, but the moment they were crowned as nephilim, their ranks were unassailable. 
In that way, in prominent but not unusual instances, Maj. Gen. Rehavam Ze’evi and Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai got away with it, whether because the authorities turned a blind eye or because fellow major generals refused to have them demoted after they were convicted of criminal sexual offenses. The military judicial law demands that the chief of staff convene a committee of commanders in the wake of a conviction carrying moral turpitude of an officer or a non-commissioned officer, in the standing army or in the reserves, or even after retirement, in order to add a demotion in rank to the civil punishment. Capt. Ehud Olmert, for example, is supposed (according to the Military Advocate General) to undergo this procedure if the High Court of Justice gives final validity to his convictions. 
Although MAGs tend to mumble that the more senior the convicted officer the more serious his punishment should be, they submissively accept the decision when major generals convicted of moral turpitude retain their rank. The courts post a sign: “Stop, there’s a major general before you.” 
For Brig. Gen. Nir Galili, who admitted to having relations with his secretary, the High Court justices approved a promotion to battalion commander, but not to the rank of major general, “which is a status symbol.” Long live the upper class, said the High Court.

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