Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Knesset Public Security Committee Chairwoman Merav Ben Ari (Yesh Atid), November 8, 2021.

“Why is the issue of harassed female prison guards not being handled correctly?” Public Security Committee Chairwoman MK Merav Ben Ari (Yesh Atid) asked on Wednesday during a meeting on the placement of female IDF​ soldiers in Israel Prison Service (IPS) facilities housing security prisoners.

See: Gilboa Prison Commander Confirms: Female Soldiers Were Offered to Terrorist Prisoners
See: Report: Prison Officials Buried Female Guard’s Complaint of Physical Assault by Terrorist Inmate


But what began as a cogent complaint from the committee chairwoman, quickly degenerated to an astonishing assertion by her, when she declared, “It is clear to me that there should not be any gender-based separation.”

What gives her this supposed clarity, you might ask? Who knows. Was she really promoting using female guards to control terrorist prisoners with blood on their hands? Ben Ari clarified that, in her opinion, “Prisoners are not supposed to harass.” Ah, well, she should have said so in the first place. Only well-behaved terrorists with blood on their hands, then?

She continued: “I want the female prison guards to be placed everywhere, and they must be provided with security.”

So, to be clear: the female guards walking among bloodthirsty Arab terrorists must be assigned special male bodyguards to make sure they aren’t harmed. Won’t it be cheaper and a lot safer to send in just those male guards?

MK Orit Strock (Religious Zionism) tried her best to maintain a polite front in face of this madness, and noted: “In a normative society, in which people are not locked up, many assaults take place, so obviously there will be assaults when prisoners do not see their wives for long periods of time.”

Yes, and as a result, these young women are very likely to become rape victims. Doesn’t Chairwoman Ben Ari get this?

MK Inbar Bezek (Yesh Atid) said: “As a mother to an adolescent girl, I am very concerned, particularly because a similar meeting took place four years ago. We need to know that we send girls to the army and they return safely.”

MK Ruth Wasserman Lande (Blue&White) asked, “Has the investigation been exhausted? The word ‘pimping’ was used. Pimping is disgraceful. The whole affair is a huge disgrace, but there is a difference between pimping and harassing.”

The Chair complained during the debate: “There have been numerous failures: Israel Police decided not to recommend that an indictment be filed. The State Prosecutor’s Office closed the case. Why is it that when it comes to female victims of violence, the issue is not brought to the fore? I am in favor of having female soldiers serve in the police and the IPS, but the army needs a mechanism that will [collect information from the female soldiers]. If universities are required by law, every year, to present data on sexual assaults, then you [IPS] will report on sexual assaults as well.”

Or, alternatively, why not keep young females from becoming involved with potential rapists to beging with?

Brig.-Gen. Amir ​Vadmani, head of the IDF Manpower Directorate’s Planning and Research Department, said: “We, as the IDF, view this event as immoral and unacceptable conduct. Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi agreed yesterday to form a special task force that will conduct an extensive examination of the issue. We will check up on every soldier who is assigned to a unit outside the IDF. We see ourselves as being responsible for every male and female soldier.”

​Vadmani explained that “soldiers are assigned to the IPS at their request. Those who do not want to serve there, do not serve there. We are required to assign 768 male and female soldiers to the IPS. This year, only 622 soldiers are serving in the IPS.”

The committee’s legal counsel, Miri Frenkel, said: “This whole arrangement of female soldiers serving in the IPS is under a temporary order that will expire in December of this year, so why is the task force being formed only now, close to the expiration of the temporary order?”

MK Galit Distel Atbaryan (Likud) said: “When I published a column about this affair, there were 5,000 shares for each post, but it did not cross the threshold of the main news programs. Where are you, women’s lobby? We must draw the necessary conclusions. How does an affair with an evidential basis get less media coverage than the Cyprus affair? (The 2019 Cyprus rape allegation case was a high-profile case of alleged gang rape in Cyprus. In July 2019, a British woman on holiday in Ayia Napa alleged she had been gang-raped by twelve Israeli tourists – DI)”

Maybe the affair caught the eyes of the media when the Gilboa Prison commander confirmed it. Since then, every media outlet in Israel has covered it and then some. In the end, if, as the legal counsel said, the whole thing will go away come January, then let’s just pray for no more attacks, and hope.


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