Scene of the crime.
(photo credit: ISRAEL POLICE)
A rape of a seven-year-old Israeli girl by a Palestinian man earlier this year has turned into a political football, with right-wing politicians calling it a hate-motivated “terrorist attack.”
The suspect, a resident of the West Bank town of Deir Qaddis near Modi’in Illit who was employed as a school janitor in a settlement, was charged on Sunday for the alleged rape, assault and abduction of the child.
Police claim that the man met the child during his work as the school janitor, offered her candy to inspire her trust in him and eventually led her forcibly to a house near the school to assault her. The suspect claimed he didn’t commit the crime, and police have been unable to track down two other men who were allegedly present at the time of the attack.
The Military Advocate-General reported on Monday that there is no indication that the rape was motivated by nationalistic ideology, Maariv reported. However, the attorney for the family – which lives in the Binyamin area of the West Bank – from the Honenu National legal defense organization told Ynet that the suspect attacked the girl because she was Jewish.
The crime was “pure hate expressed by a group of scums who acted in defiance of all human values just because the victim was Jewish,” said the attorney, Haim Blaicher. Honenu issued a statement saying that the family was not making any statements about the case.
“This is not pedophilia, but plain terrorism,” Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman said on social media, arguing in favor of sentencing terrorists in such cases to death.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the crime “moves all of our hearts,” and called on the courts to punish the perpetrator to the full extent of the law.
Likud MK Ariel Kallner tweeted that the crime is “a terrorist attack, motivated by nationalistic ideology for all intents and purposes. We know the barbarism of our enemies for over a century.”
National Union chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich called for the death penalty against the rapist.
“There is no limit to the evil and cruelty,” Smotrich said. “If only we could impose the death penalty on this vile person. Nothing less. A monster like this doesn’t deserve to breathe air in our world.”
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Avi Dichter took to Facebook to argue that the criminals “would not dare to drag and rape a Palestinian child... [they did it] because she is Jewish. Because she is a girl!”
Dichter further shared an historical anecdote about how in 1944, pre-state Palmah fighters Yohai Ben-Non, Amos Horav and Yakovah Cohen castrated Araf Ahmed Shatawi, an Arab from Beisan who had raped several Jewish women in the Jordan Valley, as an example he feels should be followed. He called to “castrate their heads... and destroy their homes.”
Activists of the far-right Jewish group Lehava held a protest on Monday evening blocking the road to Deir Qaddis holding signs that say "Fire today the rapist of tomorrow" and "will he treat our sister as a whore?"
The last sign is a reference to the Biblical story of Dinah who was raped by Shechem told in Genesis 24.
In response to the violation, her brothers Simeon and Levi murder not just the rapist but every man in the city he came from.
When their father Jacob admonishes them for their behavior, they respond with the text the protesters are using.
Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich wrote on Twitter of “the cynical nationalistic exploitation of a child who was the victim of a shocking rape.” She criticized Netanyahu for “giving the finger to help centers that look after thousands of victims.” She further stated that this is only the second time in his entire political life that Netanyahu bothered to address rape, “and the other was also to offer nationalistic incitement.”
In April, 19-year-old Ori Ansbacher was raped and murdered by Hebron resident Arafat Irfaiya. While he claimed the acts were inspired by nationalistic ideology, the court accused him of criminal intent. Both Hamas and Fatah warned Israeli authorities that should Irfaiya be placed with their inmates in Israeli prison he would be killed, as they are unwilling to have their national struggle sullied with such sexual crimes.
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