Protests have erupted across Israel over the reported gang-rape of a 16-year-old girl by 30 men in a hotel room in Eilat.
Protesters held banners saying, “We won’t be silent anymore.”
Of the 30 suspects, two men, both 27, have been arrested by the police. Both men are from the northern Israeli town of Hadera. Other arrests are expected, according to police sources.
One of the accused had text messages about the gang rape on his cell phone.
The victim told police investigators that the day after the gang rape, “one of the young men approached me and told me that he has videos. He asked if I wanted him to send them to me, but I wasn’t capable of handling it,” according to Channel 13.
The teen and her friend had gone to the resort town of Eilat on vacation earlier this month.
There, the teen’s friend met some acquaintances.
They went drinking together and upon return to the hotel, the men lined up to take turns to rape the underage girl.
One of the suspects admitted to police that more than 30 men had sex with the girl, but denied it was done “under duress”, claiming the men stood in line at the entrance to the room while the girl, intoxicated, called for them to come to her.
Police said the teenager’s friend tried to help her, but was unable to, according to a report in the Times of Israel.
The victim is currently with her family but her name has been withheld.
While she has received support from the public for which she expressed gratitude, she has also been criticized online.
“No one knows what I went through, so how can you pass judgement and ask me questions?” she said, according to Channel 13.
The owner of the hotel, Pnina Maman, said there was no evidence the suspected assault took place at her establishment, according to Channel 12 news, but then added that she has children of her own and that her heart goes out to the girl.
Madam Maman also complained of “shaming” of the hotel in the wake of reports on the alleged rape, and said she had herself received rape threats.
“We are a hotel, not an educational institution. I’m not guilty of what happened. There were never 30 people in the hallways. We checked all the cameras. There was no gathering. This could have happened, unfortunately, in any hotel,” she said. “We have no way of knowing what happens inside the rooms.”
Ilana Weizman of women’s rights group HaStickeriot says one in five Israeli women is raped during her lifetime with 260 cases reported every day.
The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel reports it receives more than 40,000 calls each year relating to sexual violence.
Of these, 87% are women or girls and 13% are men or boys.
What is truly horrifying is that 31% of callers are under the age of 12, while another 33% are between 13-18.
Welcome to the “only democracy in the Middle East” where only 12% of rapists are ever prosecuted. What kind of a society is that?
Western rulers never tire of telling us that they have “much in common with Israel and stand with it”.
Is standing with rapists and mass murderers something to be proud of?