Feminist Knesset Member Yifat Kariv (Yesh Atid) showed this week that she is extremely tough on sex offenses, but apparently on the condition that they are not perpetrated by Arabs against Jews.
MK Kariv told Israel Hayom Sunday that she intends to initiate Knesset debates in the Committee for Advancement of Women, the Education Committee and the Law, Constitution and Justice Committee, on recently reported cases involving sexual offenses allegedly committed on a dance floor in an Ashkelon club, and by minors at a school in central Israel.
MK Kariv said that she has submitted a bill calling for severe punishment of people who upload sexual photos and videos to the internet, with the intent of shaming women and girls who appear in the photos. She said that the police must beef up their cyber-crime units in order to prevent such sexual content from being viewed by children.
"My goal is to put an end to the phenomenon, and the war will be waged by very heavy punishment – five years in jail," she announced. "After the first person who goes to jail for five years, I imagine that this will already have the desired effect.”
Kariv exhibited precisely the opposite approach to sex crimes last Wednesday, when the Knesset's Interior Committee convened a discussion of the incessant sexual harassment of female students at the Mount Scopus campus of Hebrew University. The harassment is carried out by Arabs from the adjoining village of Isawiya, who also routinely hurl rocks and firebombs at cars and buildings in and around the campus. The area has been described as no less than “a war zone” by students.
Although the committee heard several firsthand accounts by female students of severe harassment and physical violence they had experienced, Kariv amazingly blamed the victims. She began her statement by saying that she is not sure “what is more frightening – walking around that area at night or this discussion.”
"I can't understand this discussion,” she said repeatedly. She insisted that the harassment is “not so terrible” and is perpetrated largely by children. She also said that the phenomenon is decreasing. “You are students in the Jerusalem University. You are learning how to change the world – and in your own neighborhood, you don't know how to get by,” she chided the students. “I think there is an opportunity here for engagement... let's look at our neighborhood, and make a difference there. Otherwise, how will we change the world?”
As MK Kariv spoke, MK Yariv Levin (Likud-Beytenu), who initiated the debate, could be seen looking down dejectedly, apparently at a loss for words. Levin had proposed that police set up a roadblock at the entrance to Isawiya and carry out strict inspections of all those coming and going, until the harassment stops.
Kariv is described on her party's website as a veteran activist for women's rights, who took part in the development of a program assisting sexually exploited minors, established the Women's Council in Hod Hasharon, served as president of the Israeli Women's Circle and pushed for the establishment of the Center for Victims of Sexual Attack in Poriya Hospital. She is also touted as advancing “courses and infrastructure for empowering women in the political, economic and social world.”
Shocked by Kariv's attitude, one of the female students from Hebrew University at the discussion accused her of “blaming the victim.”
Kariv was the only female MK at the discussion, and her disparaging remarks put a damper on attampts to pressure the police to take stronger action to stop the attacks by Isawiya's residents. Her attitude is in line with the hard-left orientation of the gender movement in Israel.
Ironically, several of the female students who came to the Knesset to demand effective action against the attackers are students at the university's gender studies program. None of their lecturers accompanied them to the Knesset, and there has been no petition or other action by the gender studies programs in Israel regarding the daily terror perpetrated against female students at Israel's first university.