Netanyahu: Rape of 16-year-old by 30 men is crime against humanity

The girl was allegedly violently raped by dozens of men when she was inebriated during her trip to the southernmost part of Israel.

A hotel is seen against a backdrop of mountains in the Red Sea resort of Eilat [Illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
A hotel is seen against a backdrop of mountains in the Red Sea resort of Eilat [Illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Police announced on Thursday evening that they are investigating the possibility that the 16-year-old girl who was gang-raped by some 30 men in Eilat was sexually assaulted once more in a different hotel than the one the girl and her friend had been staying in and where the original report occurred, the Red Sea Hotel. Meanwhile, the arrests of two suspects in their 20's were extended.
From initial investigations, it seems that the victim was sexually assaulted in another location in addition to the initial report of the gang-rape in her hotel, according to N12.
The special investigative team which was put together to handle the violent affair said, according to N12, that there is no indication yet that 30 people stayed in one room, but that there were a multiplicity of suspects staying in one room.
Meanwhile, her social media profiles were leaked online and the victim's team asked to have her moved to a safe location out of fear that the attackers or their families may attempt to threaten her.
Organizers of the Women's March in Israel announced demonstrations throughout the country, which took place on Thursday night. "Today we tell the government: There is something to be done: Do it," said the organizers.
Thousands of Israelis came out to over 30 protest locations to cry out against the brutal crime, yelling, "I believe you" and "You are not alone."
The 16-year-old girl was raped by a crowd of men while staying in Eilat. She had been walking back to her hotel room, inebriated, to use the restroom when she was attacked. Upon her return from vacation, the girl appealed to the police in Ashkelon and told investigators about the incident.
The Red Sea Hotel's management claimed that the violent incident did not happen there, despite evidence suggesting otherwise.
Police claimed that footage retrieved of the incident proves without a doubt that it took place in the Red Sea Hotel, according to N12. One suspect confirmed that it had occurred there, too.
"There is no proof that it happened here," Pnina Maman, the owner of the Red Sea Hotel, told N12. "If something happened at the level of 30 people, we would have noticed and we would not have let it happen.
"I very much want to see the video," she added. "Where it says there were 30 people... We do not deserve all of this shaming."
ONE suspect was arrested soon after the victim reported the crime, and another - a friend of the first - was arrested on Wednesday night after evidence showed that he told the victim there was footage of the incident, according to Ynet. The suspect, a 27-year-old, told police he had not written the text messages and that someone had used his phone. His arrest, along with that of the other suspect, was extended.
At the Ashkelon Magistrate Court, the suspect claimed he had been there for part of the incident, and for part of it he had been in his room, but he could not stop the approximately 30 men from raping the minor.
"He feared them," the suspect's attorney, Ofra Siboni, claimed. "No one yelled, 'help,'" the attorney concluded, attempting to blame the victim. "It only became a problem when someone ... told her there was footage of the incident."
"It is shocking – there is no other word," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to the crime. "It is not only a crime against the girl, it is a crime against humanity itself that deserves all condemnation – and those responsible must be brought to justice."
"Since yesterday I want to understand, and cannot – what is a man trying to prove when he stands in a crowded line with dozens of men on the way to a room in which a young... girl is lying?" Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz tweeted following the incident.
"The only thing that you have proven is the lowliness of mind and morality that can be reached," he concluded, directing his message towards the criminals who perpetrated the rape. "And for the complainant, it is important for me to say: My heart is with you, you are not alone."
President Reuven Rivlin wrote "an open letter to Israel's youth" in response to the event. "When we lose our boundaries, and the thought [of that] is satisfying," he wrote. "That's what freedom is all about, we mistakenly conclude. But trust me, some of our biggest challenges start when we lose control and give up boundaries."
Rivlin concluded, "Sexual assault, rape and sexual violence are stains that cannot be removed. These are incidents of a complete loss of boundaries that can't be forgiven, and they ruin us as a society. As a people."
Tobias Siegal contributed to this report.