Yarin Sherf to be charged with rape of 13-year-old

"It is a shame that only widespread public protest made legal authorities do what was obvious."

Tel Aviv Magistrates Court shortly before hearing of Yarin Sherf, suspected of raping a 13-year-old girl (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Tel Aviv Magistrates Court shortly before hearing of Yarin Sherf, suspected of raping a 13-year-old girl
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
The State Attorney announced Thursday that the charges against Yarin Sherf will be changed to rape after, earlier this month, the 21-year-old was indicted on charges of forbidden sexual relations with a 13-year-old.
Sherf was in isolation at the same coronavirus hotel as the girl and allegedly tried to rape her twice while choking her and inflicting physical trauma on her. He also reportedly provided her with drugs and alcohol.
The Tel Aviv Criminal District Attorney's Office filed an indictment earlier this month in the city's Magistrate's Court against Sherf for forbidden sexual relations. The charge also included sexual harassment, threats, assault and supplying alcohol to a minor. However, it did not include rape.
The announcement of the original charges was met with protests and widespread backlash following the indictment on what many saw as minor charges. The lobby against sexual violence in Israel and Israel women's Network launched an email campaign in which over 25,000 emails were sent to the State Attorney stating that the charges should include rape and crowds protested outside the court.
The girl's mother said that she and the family were pleased that "the team of prosecutors handling the case were able to correct the indictment and charge Yarin Sherf with the offense he committed - a rape of a 13-year-old girl."
"It is a shame that only widespread public protest made legal authorities do what was obvious," said MK Tamar Zandberg.  "When 92% of rape cases close without an indictment, it is a sign that there is a serious problem that requires an immediate solution. That is why we must make special courts for sexual offenses in Israel," said Zandberg.
The CEO of Israel’s National Council for the Child supported the change saying that "when we are talking about a 13-year-old girl, who is at risk and in a place she cannot leave, when she is attacked and threatened as she was according to the indictment, there can be no consent. "The State Attorney was wrong to indict on forbidden sexual relations."

Tamar Beeri and Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.