A bill that would double the current prison sentence of up to 16 years for terrorists who use sexual assault as a weapon passed its first reading in the Knesset on Wednesday.
If the law passes its second and third reading, the victim of such an attack would be entitled to double compensation — up to NIS 240,000 ($65,800).
The proposed law was submitted this past February by Otzma Yehudit Knesset members Limor Son Har-Melech and Yitzhak Kreuzer, less than a month after the January 29 sentencing of a Palestinian Authority terrorist who raped and murdered a young woman near Jerusalem.
There have been multiple cases in which Jewish women were sexually assaulted, and sometimes murdered, by Arab terrorists.
This past February, at least one Bedouin from an unrecognized village in the Negev their Gedera home and brutally tied up a woman and her young son, and then raped the mother. The victim, a woman in her thirties, miraculously survived the attack, albeit with physical and emotional wounds. Six suspects, all from the same family, were arrested in connection with the attack as well. Evidence collected at the scene points to one extended Bedouin family that apparently worked in Gedera. Nationalist links were still being examined at the time of the report.
On February 7, 2019, 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher volunteered at a youth center in Jerusalem when she was attacked by Arafat Irafaiya after taking a walk in the Ein Yael forest outside the capital. The Hamas-linked terrorist, who was picked up the next day in the Palestinian Authority capital of Ramallah, had a terrorist background and had spent time in an Israeli security prison. Irafaiya admitted to the charges of raping and murdering Ansbacher, saying, “I entered Israel with a knife because I wanted to become a martyr and murder a Jew. I met the girl by chance.”
The terrorist expressed nothing but pride during questioning by interrogators. “I made my parents proud with what I did. I did not just rape and murder some woman, but I murdered a Jewess. I did everything any Arab dreams of,” he said, according to a transcript.
“That murder was the best and most important thing I have ever done,” Irafaiya added. “If she had survived, it would have meant that I had failed to carry out my plan and failed my mission. It was the best feeling I had ever felt.”
‘An Existing and Horrifying Phenomenon’
The proposed law, which passed with a vote of 44 to 8, now returns to committee for further processing prior to the second and final votes in the plenum.
“Sexual terrorism, even if they deny it, is an existing and horrifying phenomenon,” Son Har-Melech said in a statement.
“Terrorist crimes, as I know firsthand, leave the victim with mental scars that never heal. Sexual harassment also, as I know, leaves the victims with mental scars that never heal.
“A combination of sexual harassment, done on a nationalistic background, leaves the victims with a double scar,” she noted, “both the scar of the victim of terrorism and the scar of the victim of sexual harassment. Therefore, there is no reason why the punishment should not be doubled.”
Son Har-Melech said that in the past year, she has heard “dozens of testimonies” from women who travel daily on buses in Samaria and who have described experiencing sexual harassment with a nationalistic context.
Kreuzer, who is co-sponsoring the measure, said it will mete out justice against the “human scum” who seek to harm the “souls of Jewish women.”