Young Bedouin woman.
Young Bedouin woman.Israel news photo: Flash 90

Bedouin and other Arabs in the northern Negev are increasingly involved in predatory relationships with young Jewish girls, according to Voice of Israel government-run radio. The relationships sometimes begin as romantic involvements, often with under-aged minors, and develop into rape, abductions and abuse.

Seven victims last month alone are aged 11-18. These are only cases that were reported to police, but many others are believed to have taken place without being reported.

Complaints were filed to the police in four cases of such abductions last month in Kiryat Malachi alone, and a fifth case of rape.

Voice of Israel radio said that all four cases of abductions in Kiryat Malachi involved young Bedouin men. The rape took place on the Ashkelon beach last weekend.

In one of the abduction cases, two men from the Bedouin city of Rahat, aged 40 and 24, were arrested, but one has since been released.

In the rape case, the main suspect is a resident of the Palestinian Authority who is illegally staying inside pre-1967 Israel. He has been charged and two other Arabs who were also present at the scene of the crime face lesser charges.

Voice of Israel's reporter in southern Israel, Asaf Kuzailov, said that the phenomenon is on the rise and is a well known one – to residents, to police and welfare authorities. It is confirmed by the Center for Assistance to Women in the Negev.

Regarding the abductions, Voice of Israel interviewed Zehava Drori of NGO Yad L'Achim's Anti-Assimilation department, who said that while Arab abductions of Jewish girls occur throughout Israel, the cases in southern Israel are typified by greater violence. While the victims in other parts of Israel are usually 16 or older, the ages of the victims in the south are often lower.

Police say that they can only get involved in cases where a specific complaint has been filed, and where there is evidence of abduction and abuse. Police and welfare elements note that the cases do not necessarily start as kidnappings. Often the relationships are consensual at first, with the Arabs plying the girls with money, gifts, attention and warmth that they lack at home. In other cases, the contention is that the girls who were taken to the Arab villages later returned home, and so the men cannot be charged with abduction.

The abuse often begins at a later stage and by then it is hard to determine that the girls are not responsible for their actions, they said.

Voice of Israel reported a specific case of a girl they called Tania from Ashkelon, who fell in love with an Arab from Gaza and moved in with him. After she became pregnant she was tied up at home for days on end and beaten. This happened five years ago, and she is now back in Israel, but still suffers from trauma.

Yad L'Achim says about 1,000 cases of Jewish girls being held against their will by Arabs occur every year.

The Family Lobby, which blames a breakdown in parental -- and particularly paternal -- authority in the Jewish sector for the problem, noted that the Israeli feminist movement and women's organizations do nothing to raise public awareness of Arab predatory behavior against Jewish girls, as that would negate their leftist credo.

"While separation of buses in the hareidi sector and religious soldiers' requests to be excused from immodest performances receive top headlines for months on end, thanks to militant feminist politicians and journalists, actual rape and abduction of minor girls is swept under the rug by these groups because it is carried out by their Arab darlings," the group's chairman, Gil Ronen, said. "Unfortunately, nationalist and religious women have not made an effort to forge an independent agenda for their women's groups on this issue, and are content to be led by the ultra-leftists, who use them for bashing religious men and Jewish religion in general."