(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Against the backdrop of an alarming number of brutal rapes being reported in
recent weeks, the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI) revealed
Wednesday that it has yet to receive a shekel in funding promised by the
government because of bureaucratic procedures.
Speaking at an emergency
session of the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women – called to discuss the
series of rapes – ARCCI director Michal Rozin said the organization, which runs
11 help centers and a hotline for victims to report attacks, is waiting for some
NIS 4 million in funding meant to come from a joint committee of Ministries of
Welfare and Social Affairs and Justice.
“Everyone is outraged by the
series of rapes that have happened recently yet the government is not putting
the money where its mouth is,” Miriam Schler, executive director of the Sexual
Assault Crisis Center in Tel Aviv, told The Jerusalem Post
“It is completely outrageous that the government expects us to
continue taking care of these victims without pay or funding for our programs,”
continued Schler, explaining that the government is unlikely to transfer the
money it has committed for the organization’s 2012 budget until sometime in
September because of lengthy bureaucratic procedures.
meeting, Rozin highlighted that over the past year, more than 40,000 people have
called the organization’s hotline to report sexual abuse, harassment or rape. As
well as the hotline and centers it runs, the organization offers victims a range
of immediate support and also provides educational programs.
and Social Services Ministry runs additional treatment programs and on-going
support for victims.
MK Tzipi Hotovely, chairwoman of the Knesset
Committee on the Status of Women, said in the meeting that the budget for the
association should not be subjected to bureaucratic procedures but should be
permanent just like the country’s defense budget.
“We are talking about
personal security for every citizen, because everyone is a potential victim
here,” she said. “This situation, which constantly repeats itself every year
because the Justice Ministry takes months and months to transfer the funds, is
Meretz party leader Zehava Gal-On called for an emergency
meeting with both the ministers of justice and welfare to address the problem.
Both ministries sit on an interministerial committee that is meant to approve
and transfer funds to the ARCCI.
In response to Wednesday’s meeting, the
Welfare Ministry said the issue was being investigated and highlighted that the
office is committed to treating victims of rape and sexual assault.
Finance Ministry responded that the paperwork allowing for the transfer of the
funds had already been completed and was waiting final approval.
the past few days this issue has been given priority by the ministry but,
unfortunately, we were not given the opportunity to respond or clarify the
matter since we were not invited to participate in the hearing of the Committee
on the Status of Women,” the Finance Ministry wrote in its
Earlier this week, three suspects were arrested for raping two
young women in the fields near Ramat Yishai and on May 11 a young couple
reported a sustained and brutal rape that took place in central Tel
During the same week, a young woman was rescued by police while she
was being attacked in south Tel Aviv. In addition, the police released
information regarding another rape that took place on Independence Day in Tel
Aviv and on Tuesday, it was revealed that an 11- year-old girl had been
gangraped in Beersheba.
Asked whether this latest wave of sexual crimes
indicates that the problem is deepening here, Schler said that there seems to be
an element of copycat crimes taking place and emphasized that what is being
reported in the media is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
sensationalist cases because the rapists were from a certain community, said
Schler, adding, “We must remember that 87 percent of rapes are by perpetrators
known to the victim and that only 20% of those incidents are reported to the
The Association of Rape Crisis Centers runs two helplines, one
for women (#1202) and one for men (#1303).