Three teens charged with raping Danish tourists

Evidence includes a cellphone which shows 2 suspects assaulting one of the tourists.

ein gedi 88 (photo credit:)
ein gedi 88
(photo credit: )
Three members of Kibbutz Ein Gedi arrested on suspicion of raping two Danish tourists over a week ago were indicted in the Beersheba Magistrate's Court on Wednesday. Part of the evidence included in the indictment is a cellphone video, retrieved by police, that allegedly shows two of the suspects assaulting one of the tourists, a police spokesman said. The two tourists, aged 17 and 19, who were staying at the kibbutz guest houses for Dead Sea spa treatments, had become acquainted with the three young men after arriving at the kibbutz three weeks prior. The women had originally alleged that the suspects, all children of kibbutz members, assaulted them in the apartment of one of the suspects. According to police, the cellphone video shows one of the plaintiffs in a car with two of the suspects. The suspects reportedly ask her to kiss them, and when she refuses, she is pulled from the car by one of the suspects and thrown into a grassy field nearby. Earlier reports said that all three of the suspects admitted to having consensual sex with the tourists. However, a police source told The Jerusalem Post that only one of the suspects admitted to consensual sex, and the other two entirely denied having sex with the women. All three suspects are to remain in jail until the case goes to court, and the tourists, who police said they believed had left the country, may or may not return to testify. According to the indictment, on April 13, a few days before they were supposed to leave the country, the two plaintiffs met the suspects - Ron Rodeti, 22, Ben Evar, 21, and Dan Lahav, 22 - at the kibbutz pub. They drank, and at some point, the suspects invited the two girls back to Lahav's apartment, where they were given more alcohol. The indictment then states that Rodeti and Evar entered a car with one of the girls, after which the incidents captured on the cellphone began. The indictment also states that the other woman, left behind at Lahav's apartment, went through a similar experience. There, Lahav allegedly tried to kiss her, and when she refused, the indictment says, he removed her clothes and raped her. It remains to be seen how the alleged incident will affect the kibbutz as an in-demand tourist destination. Ein Gedi is a popular spot for visitors both from Israel and outside the country, and features a botanical garden, guest houses and a spa, along with impressive waterfalls , hiking trails, antiquities and swimming holes in the nature reserve nearby. "Why should there be a relationship between this incident and our tourism?" asked Meirav Eilon, a kibbutz spokeswoman. "These sorts of things, while they are terrible, happen in Tel Aviv, Haifa, Los Angeles, Central Park - all over the world - and I don't think it affects the number of tourists that go to those places. Ein Gedi is a famous tourist location in Israel, and I'm sure people will continue to come. There's no reason to connect Ein Gedi and our attractions with the incident that happened last week." Eilon also said the atmosphere at the kibbutz, which has nearly 500 members, was somber, but that, "like most kibbutzim, it's hard to find one that is a single body. Some people are more upset than others, but it should be said that the kibbutz didn't do this." Eilon went on to say that since the incident, there has not been a drop in visitors or guests at the kibbutz. "God forbid," she said. "I can say that in the past couple of days, there's been less people in the entire Dead Sea area, but that isn't related to the incident on the kibbutz, it's related to the heat - and I don't blame them." Still, Eilon confirmed that the three suspects were to be held in jail until May 7, when the case is set to come before the Beersheba Magistrate's Court.