Scared girl (illustrative)
Scared girl (illustrative)iStock

The Be'er Sheva District Court on Wednesday sentenced to five years in prison a Bedouin Arab who broke into a family's home and sexually assaulted their ten-year-old daughter.

The three judges also handed the Bedouin Arab a fine of 70,000 NIS in compensation, to be paid to the victim.

In a plea bargain, the Arab was convicted of indecent assault on a minor, breaking into a residential location, and attempted sodomy.

Speaking to Kan Reshet Bet, the girl's father responded to the sentencing, saying, "As is their habit when it comes to holiness, the judges of Israel have mercy on the criminal and do not pay any attention to the victim of the crime. Half of this sentence was the reasons to go easy on him. In the end she sentenced him to five years, of which I don't know how much he sat - [with] good behavior, they'll reduce it for him. In the blink of an eye, it'll be over. This is not deterrence, this is not punishment. I feel ridiculed."

According to the updated indictment, the perpetrator, then 17 years old, arrived in the dead of night in February 2021 along with two others, one of them 16 years old, to a town in southern Israel. The two youths broke into the victim's home as the family members slept in their beds, while the third waited for them in the vehicle.

At some point, the attacker entered one of the bedrooms, in which the 10-year-old girl and her younger siblings were sleeping. He sat down next to the girl, who was awake, and kissed her forcefully on her face. The girl asked the attacker to explain himself, and he said, "Don't worry," but despite this, attempted to sodomize her. Afterwards, he left the room and the girl called to her father. The attacker and the second youth left the home, ran to the vehicle in which their adult partner awaited them, and left the scene.

Following the horrific event, the father said, "This is the horror of horrors, a nightmare. Two masked men of death did what they did to a ten-year-old girl lying in her Shabbat (Sabbath) dress in her bed, in the safest place in the world. And you understand that if I had fired my weapon, I would be the guilty party."

"He looked around, chose what he wanted to choose, and did what he wanted to do. It was all with complete awareness, as another person shined a flashlight for him on my little girl's face, and then one of the girls screamed and they escaped. When I came out I saw them, I pulled out my weapon, and they ran off."

MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, chairman of the Otzma Yehudit party, responded to the court's decision, calling it a "serious and horrific event, which illustrates the serious problem in the judicial system."

"A terrorist who hurt not only a girl and her family but all residents of the country, needs to sit in jail for many years, and not receive any plea bargain. This serious incident severely harms the last remnants of what remained of Israeli deterrence in the Negev and in general."

He emphasized, "No Israeli girl needs to fear walking into the street, and certainly not in her home. It's time to be the homeowners, to bring back governance and security for the residents of the south, to set minimum punishments for these crimes and to give every boy and girl security."

The Regavim Movement responded, "The ridiculous sentence of only five years in prison proves, again, that the loss of governance is also the result of the courts' decisions. The Israeli public has had enough and expects the new government to bring about real change."

"The loss of governance isn’t demonstrated only in this horrific incident of a Bedouin criminal breaking into a home and raping a young girl in her bedroom. It's also the fact that time and again the judicial system doesn’t understand the need for a serious change of approach.

"Instead of recognizing the need to provide a sense of security and safety for residents of Rahat, Beer Sheva, etc, the judges let off criminals lightly. Everyone knows about the problems – now’s time for action."