Is Israel ready to deal with sexual offenses a year after the gang rape in Eilat?


A year ago, the gang rape of a 16-year-old girl by numerous assailants at the Red Sea hotel in Eilat became public and shocked the country.

The rape, reportedly perpetrated primarily by minors, brought conversations about sex offenses to the forefront of public discourse and pushed leaders to find solutions to Israel’s failures in dealing with such crimes.

So what has been achieved this year, if anything, and is Israel better off when it comes to preventing and dealing with sexual offenses?

“It cannot be denied that there has been a significant increase in public awareness of the government’s incompetence in dealing with sexual violence, especially among young people,” the head of the Israel lobby against sexual violence, Yael Sherer.

This heightened awareness of the incident “influenced the opening of a trauma room for victims of sexual offenses at Joseftal Hospital in Eilat, and other trauma rooms, among others,” he said. Sherer continued.

She explained that while this emergency care is important, discussions about healthy sexuality and boundaries need to be conducted, especially among young people.

Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI) CEO Orit Sulitzeanu agreed that Eilat’s rape had “changed the game” in terms of public opinion and that the need for better education on the issue. healthy sexuality and sexual violence in Israel is still acute.

“Israel still does not invest at all in national and systematic education for healthy sexuality and the prevention of sexual violence,” Sulitzeanu told the Post. This education will only take place if a principal or teacher decides to include it in their curriculum, she explained. Young Israelis “are not exposed to this crucial and basic education,” said Sulzeanu who added that she hopes this will change under Israel’s new education minister.

Immediately after the gang rape in Eilat, a number of schools attended by the suspects in the case announced that they would deal with the incident, but there was no national educational response to the incident. incident, although most of those allegedly involved are high school students.

An anti-Netanyahu protester in Tel Aviv clashes with Israeli police (Credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

Another area where Israel has not seen improvement in handling sexual offenses is law enforcement.

The Israel Police do not have special units to deal with sexual offenses and were recently accused of mismanaging numerous cases of sexual offenses by women trying to press charges. They “haven’t made any changes,” Sulitzeanu said.

Preliminary results of a new study by the Haifa University Legal Feminism Clinic released last month also showed that the Israeli police mistreat cases of sexual offenses and mistreat the victims of those cases. Also last month, acknowledging how difficult it can be to file a complaint, Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev appointed an adviser on violence against women, saying he would reconsider the process of filing a complaint for sexual violence with her. It remains to be seen whether any improvements will be made to the procedure.

The shocking gang rape in Eilat made many Israelis realize that their children could have been the victim in a case like this, or among the perpetrators, Sulitzeanu said.

Despite this important public record and the pressure it has exerted on politicians, Israel still seems to be losing the fight against sexual violence.


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