There is a clear trend of Arab men sexually assaulting Jewish girls and women as a form of anti-Israel terrorism, attorney Roni Sadovnik said Wednesday, speaking to Arutz Sheva.
Israel’s courts prefer to treat such crimes as solely criminal in nature rather than as crimes motivated by nationalist hate, she said. Changing the status of such crimes would give victims a wider array of services and assistance.
Currently, victims of sex crimes perpetrated by Palestinian Authority men are left to handle the trauma without special help from the state, she explained.
Sadovnik noted a particularly extreme case in which four PA resident teenagers grabbed a 13-year-old Jewish girl from the side of a road north of Jerusalem, beat her and raped her. The girl managed to escape after throwing sand in the eyes of one of her attackers.
The four rapists were convicted, but each will serve just two years in prison due to their young age.
Details of the case, including the attackers’ focus on humiliating their victim, show that the attack was motivated by anti-Jewish hate, Sadovnik said. The crime should have been treated as terrorist attacks are, she added.
Another example is the brutal rape last May in the Gan Ha'Ir mall in Tel Aviv, she said. In that attack, a PA resident man who had entered Israel illegally attacked two Jewish youths over the course of four hours, beating the male and beating and raping the female.
Again, the particular focus on humiliation shows that the motive “was clearly hatred between the peoples,” she said.
When such cases come to court, it is the girls and women who were attacked who are called on to prove that the attack was motivated by nationalism, she said. Prosecutors reach plea bargain arrangements with rapists and other sex attackers which do not include a confession of the attackers’ motives – a confession which could lead to the recognition of the victims as victims of terrorism.
Sadovnik noted that there is a conflict of interests at play. The State Prosecution is essentially part of the government, she said, and the government would be required to fund additional help for victims if the prosecution were to recognize them as victims of terrorism.
There is international precedent for recognizing rape as a crime of war, she said. Regarding the theory that the state may be deliberately reducing prosecution of PA residents for diplomatic reasons, Sadovnik said that she, too, believes it is time for peace – but that peace must not come at the expense of girls and young women attacked by rapists.
Rape has been an element of Arab attacks on Jews in the Land of Israel dating back to the 1929 Hevron Massacre and even earlier. Harassment of Jewish women has become a major issue in the Negev and in parts of Jerusalem, among other places.
In recent years several gang rapes committed by Israeli Arab men have been found to have been motivated by anti-Israel hate. Terrorists who murdered an American Christian female tourist in Israel were found to have committed rape in a separate attack.
The issue of Muslim rape of non-Muslim women has caused controversy outside Israel’s borders as well, including in Norway, where a stormy public debate erupted after police revealed that Muslim immigrants were responsible for nearly all rapes in Oslo.