Members of Israel Defence Forces recited Leviticus to gay soldier, told him gay people need a bullet in the head

A gay soldier serving in the Israel Defence Forces has told of the many ‘homophobic’ comments from his fellow soldiers, who threatened to kill gay people and cut off their genitals.

The anonymous man is serving at the Israeli Air Force base in Haifa. Another LGBT+ soldier who witnessed the abuse reported it to the Jewish news site Mako, using the pseudonym Yair.

“They came into his room and recited Leviticus 18:22 on ‘sexual relations with a man’ to him, telling him, ‘See? it’s forbidden,'” Yair said. “One of the soldiers even said that gay people deserve a bullet in the head.”

The soldiers allegedly called LGBT+ people “perverts” and said that transgender people are “the worst in the community”, while another was heard claiming to be “a proud homophobe”.

Perhaps most shocking of all, the soldiers then boasted of what they would do if a child of theirs came out as gay.

Israel Defence Force cadets are sworn in in old town of Jerusalem in front of the Wailing Wall on June 13, 2018 (Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto/Getty)

“One of them claimed he would throw them out of the house, while another jokingly said they would kill them. He said it jokingly but it was not funny at all. A third soldier even said he would cut their genitals off.”

The gay man reported the offensive language to his commanders, who took a hard line on those involved, telling them that the next person to act in the same way “would find himself under arrest”.

A spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces issued a statement in response to the incident. “The IDF ensures a respectful environment to all soldiers and commanders alike,” they said.

“From the moment of complaint, the commanders conducted a thorough investigation of the events – and at the end of it, one soldier was tried and punished for harming the value of human dignity. The IDF leads a zero tolerance policy toward such offences and conducts teachings and workshops on the subject.”

Sharon Afek came out in 2017 and is now one of the most powerful people in the Israeli military (Wikimedia Commons)

Harassment on the grounds of sexuality is strictly prohibited in the IDF, which is known as one of the world’s most LGBT-friendly militaries. The homophobic comments described by Yair are a notable exception to the norm.

The IDF’s second-most senior rank is held by Sharon Afek, an openly gay major general.

Afek came out publicly in 2017 in an unprecedented move, and rose to major general just over a year later. He is now the highest-ranking LGBT+ member of any military.