Female conscripts suffered a range of abuses from verbal harassment to assault and rape allegedly by security prisoners and permanent officers, thousands of former and current soldiers say.
Roughly one in four women performing compulsory national service in Israel's police force and prison service have suffered sexual abuse on the job, according to a report by Israel's official government watchdog agency.
The report has findings by the State Comptroller that indicate that a problem that has long plagued Israel's security forces appears to be getting worse, despite numerous campaigns over the years to protect female conscripts from male colleagues, commanders and even prisoners.
"Our report is 'Me Too' to the Israeli prison service and the police," the report said.
The report said the case was just "the tip of the iceberg" — finding a range of abuses from verbal harassment to assault and rape.
Female conscripts "are exposed to harassment both from security prisoners and permanent officers, taking advantage of their weakness," it said.
Some of the guards said they received no help from their commanders when they reported the abuse.
Keren Barak, a lawyer representing some of the guards who prisoners allegedly assaulted, told Israel's Army radio station that even she was surprised by the extent of the problem. "It really is an earthquake," she said.
13,000 soldiers surveyed
Military service is compulsory for many Jewish Israelis, with women typically serving two years.
While most soldiers serve in the army, some do their service in the police, paramilitary border police or with the prison service.
In compiling the report, the comptroller's office spoke to 150 people in active service and surveyed 13,000 soldiers and former soldiers.
The Israeli military said it has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and that it conducts audits in the prison service every two months to ensure that female soldiers are treated properly.
The prison service said it has already launched several initiatives to address the problems but that "there is no doubt that the findings of the State Comptroller’s report indicate there is still work ahead of us."
The police said, "any report of suspected sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour is thoroughly examined and treated accordingly" and that it will continue to promote a "safe work environment."