Politically-motivated rapes should be considered by Israel to be acts of terrorism en par with injuries caused by qassam rockets, rock-throwing, and suicide bombings.
As we speak, a young 19-year-old Israeli woman who was gang raped and beaten up at the tender age of 13 by four nationally-motivated Palestinians is appealing a decision made by the Israeli Defense Ministry, which claimed that her case should not be considered an act of terrorism. While everyone is speaking about the indecent remark made by the judge—who subsequently resigned from his post—Nissim Yeshaya, who had stated that “some girls enjoy getting raped,” not enough people are questioning the Israeli Defense Ministry for not classifying her case as an act of terrorism to begin with.
According to the National Insurance Institute of Israel website, a hostilities-related injury should include “an injury resulting from an act of violence whose purpose was to harm people because of their national or ethnic origin, provided that it arises from the Israeli-Arab conflict or was committed by a terrorist organization.”
According to the U.S. State Department and Title 22 of the U.S. Penal Code Section 265, terrorism is “politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents.” As an Israeli woman, I find myself asking, how can one not include a group of politically-motivated Palestinian men deciding to gang-rape a Jewish child specifically because of her national origin, as an act of terrorism?
If a Palestinian rapes a Jewish woman to fulfill some animistic desire and lacks political intentions, then I could understand why it wouldn’t be classified as terrorism, although in my view it is a travesty of justice for rapists to merely serve two years in prison, as was set to happen in this case. Rape is a crime that can emotionally destroy a woman for years into the future. Many rape victims, if not given the proper therapy, and especially if they were raped at a young age, find it very difficult to function due to the trauma that they experienced. For this reason, rapists deserve much more time in prison than two years, regardless of what age they were when they committed the crime.
But when rape is politically-motivated by antisemitism, the punishment for such a crime should be en par with terrorism. In this particular instance, there was convincing evidence that these four Palestinians targeted this Jewish child specifically for her ethnicity. This young Jewish girl was literally dragged off the streets of Jerusalem at random, where she was beaten up and gang raped in such a humiliating manner that only someone motivated by racial hatred would behave in such a way. So if it is established that political motives are involved; then gang rape should be considered an injury en par with being wounded from rock-throwing, qassam rockets, or suicide bombings!
Since the 1929 Hebron Massacre, rape has been an element of Arab terrorism orchestrated against Jewish civilians as part of the Arab-Israeli conflict. More than one case of gang rape committed by Israeli Arab men has been found to be politically motivated. In the Negev and parts of Jerusalem, Arabs sexually harassing Jewish women has become a major issue. Furthermore, in Syria, Iran, and other Muslim countries, rape has been used as a political tool of terrorism in order to silence the political opposition, proving that the Arab-Israeli conflict is not the only instance where rape has been used as a tool of terrorism. There is also international legal precedent for considering rape as part of a political conflict to be a war crime. Given all of this, the Israeli authorities should treat politically-motivated rapes as terrorism, not merely as criminal acts.
About the Author: Rachel Avraham is a news editor and political analyst for Jerusalem Online News, the English language internet edition of Israel's Channel 2 News. She completed her masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University. The subject of her MA thesis was: "Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab media."
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