PM apologizes for condemning 'nationalistic rape'

Netanyahu 'regrets' condemnation, says it was 'not right' to make judgements before trial.

Ari Yashar and Tova Dvorin, | updated: 12:28

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Miriam Alster/Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized for condemning an incident which three Arabs raped a 20-year-old mentally disabled Jewish girl for "nationalistic" motives Thursday night, saying Friday that he "regretted" commenting on it.

"As reported, the incident caused me deep pain and shock," Netanyahu posted on Facebook Friday. "With that, I had no right to relate to it until the issue was investigated, and I regret that." 

In a post on his Facebook page Thursday, Netanyahu wrote that the rape “is a horrifying crime that requires wall to wall condemnation, but such condemnation has for some reason not been heard – neither in the media nor across the political spectrum.”

“One can only imagine what would happen if it were the opposite (Jews raping an Arab for nationalistic reasons –ed.),” the Prime Minister charged. “We will do justice to the full extent of the law with all those involved in this brutal act.”

This is not the first time Netanyahu has judged an incident before it has been investigated in a court of law. Earlier this year, he condemned IDF soldier Elor Azariya for controversially shooting a neutralized terrorist based on misinformation - but never apologized for that snap judgement. 

Merav Michaeli takes Netanyahu to task

MK Shelly Yechimovich (Zionist Union) fired back and said that it is actually Netanyahu who continuously remains silent when it comes to sexual offenses.

But Netanyahu's retraction has also been linked to comments from MK Merav Michael (Zionist Union), who took the Prime Minister to task Friday. 

"For over 20 years I have struggled against rape and sexual assault," she said. "I have and have had male and female partners in this struggle from different parts of the political rainbow. But I haven't heard a single condemnation from Netanyahu to a single act of rape or sexual assault."

"During his term as Prime Minister hundreds of cases like this have been exposed," she continued. "Shocking gang rape that continued months and years, serious cases of incest, abuse of the helpless - he never condemned a single one of them."

"But yesterday, when a rape committed by Arabs on a Jewish woman was publicized, he published a post accusing others who didn't condemn it," she added. "The conclusion is of course that Netanyahu is only against the rape of a Jewish woman by Arabs. When Jewish men rape Jewish women he has no problem with that. Why not?" 

"So Mr. Netanyahu, I will continue to struggle against rape for being rape and you will continue to incite against Arabs for being Arabs. Very soon the public will understand where it is better to be, and that is not with you," Michaeli concluded.

Post-retraction

Michaeli also released a scathing response following Netanyahu's retraction. 

"Netanyahu doesn't condemn rape," she said. "He takes advantage of awful rape in order to incite against me. Against me and against other female MKs who dedicated and dedicate a significant part of our life to the struggle against rape."

"Netanyahu is inciting against me. He accuses me that I don't condemn rape."

Michaeli further accused Netanyahu of not speaking out about sexual abuse scandals in the police and elsewhere. 

"Netanyahu only discovers the violence against women when he can use it against other women, who struggle against violence towards women," she added. "So Mr. Netanyahu, you continue to incite against me and I will continue to struggle against rape and violence for being as they are. The day is not far when the public will realize that the one (in feminine tense - ed.) who takes care of her and him is not you."

Michaeli never actually condemned the nationalistic rape; no other MK spoke about the issue except for MK Nava Boker (Likud).




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